27 May 2020
A Victorian doctor has had his registration cancelled until 2025 following findings of sexual misconduct and inappropriately prescribing drugs of dependence.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) has found Dr Christopher Bradshaw engaged in a personal and sexual relationship with a female patient ‘XY’, and inappropriately prescribed her Schedule 8 medications, including in circumstances when Dr Bradshaw ought to have known that XY had, or was at risk of developing drug dependence. This included prescribing medications without sufficient clinical assessment, in excessive quantities, without sufficient consultation with XY’s other doctors, and when they were not clinically indicated.
Yesterday, the Tribunal immediately cancelled Dr Bradshaw’s registration and determined that he should spend eight years out of practice before he can reapply for registration.
Dr Bradshaw has been suspended since October 2017 when the Medical Board of Australia received a notification about the matter. He previously had conditions on his registration relating to similar behaviour with another patient.
XY had first consulted with Dr Bradshaw in 2008 in relation to a hip injury. When the personal and sexual relationship commenced in 2011, Dr Bradshaw was aware that XY was vulnerable and depressed because of her hip problem and the impacts on her personal and working life. At or after the start of the relationship, Dr Bradshaw also became aware of XY’s history of family violence. The patient died in 2017.
The Tribunal noted: ‘The breach involved a patient who was vulnerable and who was known by Dr Bradshaw to be vulnerable, even if he did not know at first about her family violence history. The power imbalance was accentuated by XY' s emotional vulnerability and her relatively young age.’
Medical Board of Australia Chair, Dr Anne Tonkin, said when individual doctors abused their patients’ trust, the reputation of the whole profession suffered.
‘Sexual boundary violations are a serious betrayal of patients’ trust and are never acceptable.’
‘While the devastating consequences in this case can never be repaired, I hope the Tribunal decision is an effective deterrent,’ Dr Tonkin said.
Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said,‘This is a tragic case. Any abuse of power completely betrays the trust patients place in their health practitioners'.
The full decision is available on the Austlii website.
Anyone with concerns about a practitioner can check the register of practitioners or make a notification.