Police warn of sex offender targeting female GPs
GPs in Melbourne are being exposed to "dangerous and unacceptable situations" by a convicted sex offender who has been attempting to book one-on-one appointments with female practitioners, the AMA Victoria warns.
Police and the state AMA branch have contacted practices to stay on the alert for the man.
The 40-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, resides at Corella Place, a correctional facility that houses the state’s worst sex offenders after they have served their sentence but still present a threat to the community.
He has been convicted of two counts of rape, and, according to media reports, has a history of stalking and violence.
AMA Victoria emailed its members in August to warn them about the man after several GPs in Melbourne’s North complained about his behaviour.
“We understand that there is a … male, known to police with an alleged sexual offence record, who has been calling medical practices and requesting to only see female GPs,” the AMA wrote.
“The male usually rings and says: ‘Dr X has seen me in the past and can I make another appointment to see her'.”
It is understood that the man has been “creepy”, but not violent, towards to doctors he targets.
AMA Victoria president Dr Lorraine Baker said: “The police have been informed, but appear limited in their powers to assist.”
Describing the situation as “serious”, Dr Baker said it showed the need for the government to focus on improving safety in general practices following its commitment to stop hospital violence in the wake of the death of Box Hill surgeon Dr Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann.
“Female GPs and female GP registrars who are in training are being exposed to dangerous and unacceptable situations in their workplaces.”
“GP clinics would usually be regarded as very safe places to work. However, GPs can be exposed to dangerous situations with a patient, especially when one-on-one in a consulting room.”
The Herald Sun reported he was convicted on two counts of rape in 2008 after sexually assaulting his housemate’s partner, and has a history of violence and stalking.
UPDATE 4pm AEST
A Victoria Police spokeswoman has told Australian Doctor that police have not received any "formal complaints" from GPs about the man.
The police spokeswoman said: “Victoria Police cannot comment on specific cases regarding those on the sex offender register. Under the Sex Offenders Registration Act, 2004 police cannot disclose if an individual is a registrable offender. Having said that, the community can rest assured if there is a specific and immediate risk, the community will be informed and police will seek assistance as required."
"We also work with the Adult Parole Board and other organisations to ensure information is shared where required and within the bounds of existing legislation."
"At this time, we have not received any formal complaints regarding a specific male visiting female doctors in the Moreland and Darebin areas."