Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - WA ophthalmologist disqualified for two years for inappropriate sexual behaviour
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WA ophthalmologist disqualified for two years for inappropriate sexual behaviour

14 Dec 2023

A Western Australian medical practitioner has been reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for two years for professional misconduct.

On 1 June 2023, the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred Dr Geoffrey James Crawford to the State Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) for violating boundaries with two female patients.

Dr Crawford began a sexual relationship with Patient T in early 2002. In July 2003, Dr Crawford referred Patient T to another practitioner and received a report from that practitioner. The intimate and sexual relationship with Patient T ended in November 2003.

In a second instance, in March 2019, Dr Crawford behaved inappropriately towards Patient S. During two post-operative consultations, Dr Crawford breached patient boundaries by making inappropriate sexual comments to her and having inappropriate contact with her.

Dr Crawford was reprimanded and suspended in 1992 for similar conduct.

Dr Crawford cooperated with the Board's investigation into the allegations and acknowledged that he had engaged in professional misconduct. In 2019, Dr Crawford provided an apology to Patient S, attended a webinar on avoiding misunderstandings around physical contact and intimate examination, and participated in an educational activity on patient boundaries.

The tribunal found that Dr Crawford had failed to maintain good patient care and had violated patient boundaries. In doing so, Dr Crawford breached the Australian Medical Association Code of Ethics and violated the patients’ boundaries as outlined in ‘Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia’ and guideline 1 in ‘Guidelines: Sexual boundaries in the doctor-patient relationship.

The tribunal found that Dr Crawford's behaviour was professional misconduct, ordered that he be reprimanded, disqualified for 24 months, and made to pay $10,000 to the Board in legal costs.

Dr Crawford ceased to be a registered medical practitioner on 25 July 2022.

Read the full decision on the e-courts portal of Western Australia.

Page reviewed 14/12/2023