Canberra doctor to continue practising, despite unsafely prescribing medicines

ABC

A Canberra doctor has been allowed to continue practising, despite a tribunal finding that she unsafely prescribed medicines and put patients at risk.

In May 2014, the Medical Board of Australia suspended Dr Syeda Tausif's registration to practise medicine after she failed to meet conditions.

She had been working at the Ginninderra and Phillip medical centres run by Primary Health Care Limited.

Investigations found that between 2011 and 2012, she had risked patient safety by prescribing opioids without approval to patients who appeared to be abusing the system due to addictions.

Dr Tausif admitted to professional misconduct and the Medical Board sought to cancel her registration.

But the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) ordered she be registered as a health practitioner, with strict conditions including supervision and completion of further training.

The tribunal found that Dr Tausif could continue to practise medicine in an environment where a senior doctor was willing to mentor her.

ACAT ruled Dr Tausif's notes could also be subjected to random audits.

The tribunal said it was not aware of any complaints from patients and that a lack of support had contributed to Dr Tausif's professional misconduct.

ACAT found that on her first day at the medical centres, Dr Tausif was shown the billing system on the computer and was required to see patients the same day.

On average Dr Tausif had more than 40 patient consultations per day.

ACAT noted that much of her prescribing during her employment had been appropriate.

Prior to working at two Canberra bulk-billing medical centres, Dr Tausif worked as a general practitioner at Gungahlin Medical Centre as well as an intern at Canberra Hospital and a resident medical officer at Calvary Hospital.