CPD Non Compliance as Professional Misconduct: A Recent Decision from the New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal


By McDowell Purcell \ In All Posts, Public & Regulatory

Continuing Professional Development (“CPD”) has become mandatory for many of the statutory professions in recent years, recognising the importance of continued learning and development for professionals.

Recently, the New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) found a medical practitioner guilty of misconduct for failing to maintain his Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements and payments from 2012 to 2016. In so finding, the Tribunal placed particular emphasis on the dishonesty on the part of the respondent doctor, together with the importance of CPD Maintenance for public and patient protection.

Inquiry

For the purposes of the Inquiry, the Tribunal considered an allegation that the practitioner, between 2012 and 2016:

  1. failed to comply with the Medical Council of New Zealand’s requirements for CPD;
  2. failed to comply with its recertification requirements; and
  3. made false entries in his recertification portfolio in 2014.

The Professional Conduct Committee (“PCC”), who brought the complaint against the respondent doctor, alleged that these continued failures, together with the false entries, showed a deliberate disregard by the practitioner of his professional responsibilities, and that they amounted, either separately or cumulatively, to professional misconduct on behalf of the Registrant. When the matter was heard on 20 February 2017, the practitioner failed to attend the hearing.

The Tribunal found that the charge of professional misconduct laid against the practitioner was established and that the three elements cumulatively did amount to professional misconduct.

Sanction

With regard to sanction, the Tribunal decided the following:

  1. censure the practitioner;
  2. fine him in the amount of $3,000;
  3. ordered him to pay $15,918 towards the costs of the Tribunal’s hearing;
  4. ordered that the practitioner practise under supervision for a period of eighteen months;

Finally, the Tribunal directed publication of its decision a copy of same can be accessed here.

Comment

The decision provides useful insights in terms of the seriousness with which CPD non-compliances can be treated by certain tribunals, particularly where an element of dishonesty subsists.

In the Irish jurisdiction, CPD for registered medical practitioners is addressed under Part 11 of the Medical Practitioners Act, 2007 [1] and SI No. 171 of 2011 [2]. Under these legislative provisions, a failure to comply with Medical Council CPD requirements may form the basis of a complaint to the Medical Council.

Author: James Roddy and Lyn McCarthy

References:

[1] http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2007/act/25/enacted/en/print#part11

[2] http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2011/si/171/made/en/print