After missing 38 drug tests, impaired GP struck off

He eventually tested positive for ice, cannabis and morphine
Court

A GP who admitted taking ice and cocaine has been struck off after missing 38 mandatory drug tests imposed by the medical board.

The NSW doctor, a 20-year fellow of the RACGP, was placed on the Impaired Practitioner Register in 2014 and allowed to treat patients as long as he provided urine samples for drug testing three times a week, plus occasional blood tests for alcohol consumption.

However, over 12 months, he repeatedly failed to show up for tests and misled the Medical Council of NSW about the reasons why.

In one instance, he told the council he was on holiday in Adelaide on a testing date, even though practice records showed he was consulting with patients in NSW.

When he did provide urine samples, several tested positive for ice, cannabis and morphine.

The GP wrote to the council blaming passive inhalation for the presence of ice and cannabis. He said the positive result for morphine was the consequence of a "non intentional mistake" - the result of eating pastries containing poppy seeds made by his mother.

The council noted that its drug testing protocol orders doctors to avoid poppy seeds because of the risk of generating positive results, and so even in this situation, the doctor had breached his conditions.

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found the doctor guilty of professional misconduct, saying that his excuses were false.

The doctor told the tribunal he would obey any new, stricter conditions if allowed to practise again.

Since being suspended under an immediate action in 2016, he had been unemployed and was living with his parents because he could not afford to pay rent.

But the tribunal refused to allow him to practise under more conditions, saying the GP had not taken the previous conditions seriously even though they were designed to protect the public.

He will not be able to reapply for registration until mid-2019.