Ban slapped on GP for addiction scripts
A GP who claimed his concern for his patients’ wellbeing led him to inappropriately prescribe drugs of addiction has been fined $10,000 and banned from prescribing some medications but allowed to keep practising.
The NSW Medical Tribunal said Dr Peter Edwin Jones, from the NSW central coast, admitted to unprofessional conduct and professional misconduct over allegations he prescribed benzodiazepines and narcotics to seven patients “without exercising responsible medical judgement” in 2008 and 2009.
The tribunal said he also admitted to writing post-dated scripts for patients days before he was to face disciplinary action over those prescribing practices.
However it accepted that Dr Jones’s explanation was “essentially one that says 'I did the wrong thing but did so for the benefit of the patients’”.
It said Dr Jones, who returned to practice partly because of the financial burden of litigation after being in a car accident in the US, had said in a statement that he was “truly contrite”, and that “whilst I did not see it at the time in question I now readily accept my prescribing was inappropriate”.
The tribunal said Dr Jones, who began general practice in 1977, claimed it was not his usual practice to give post-dated prescriptions but that he did so “for three of my regular patients because I was concerned that they may not be able to arrange to consult with another practitioner within a reasonable timeframe”.
He was also “concerned to ensure that they had sufficient medication to enable them to find a new general practitioner and seek to prevent those patients from experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms".
The tribunal said it decided that Dr Jones should be allowed to continue practising but with conditions.
It took into account testimony from the doctor’s peers, including area GP Dr Betappanaidu Chandra Mohan who said "possibly [Dr Jones’s] caring attitude and the pressure of working in a solo practice is what led up to this situation, however, he now has the support of multiple doctors and therefore less pressure from patients”.