Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Board imposes conditions on Dr Phillip Nitschke, ending legal process
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Board imposes conditions on Dr Phillip Nitschke, ending legal process

26 Oct 2015

The Medical Board of Australia has imposed strict conditions on the medical registration of Dr Phillip Nitschke in a mediated settlement that concludes longstanding legal and tribunal proceedings.

The 25 conditions imposed by the Board restrict the scope of Dr Nitschke’s medical practice and put an end to his involvement in providing any advice or information to any patient or member of the public about how to commit suicide. This includes workshops, the Peaceful Pill Handbook, videos or on-line fora.

The conditions are published in full on the register of practitioners and include:

  • Not providing advice or information on suicide or Nembutal to any patient or member of the public 
  • Not selling or providing tests to check the purity of Nembutal or being involved in its manufacture 
  • Not prescribing, supplying or administering a barbiturate, benzodiazepine class medication or opiates without being authorised to do so in writing by a palliative care physician 
  • Not endorsing or encouraging the suicide of any patient or any member of the public who has communicated that intention 
  • Removing endorsement of / involvement with the ‘Peaceful Pill’ handbook and related videos 
  • Communicating effectively with other medical practitioners involved in the clinical care of patients and maintaining adequate patient records 
  • Referring patients or members of the public interested in suicide to a registered health practitioner or a local mental health service and 
  • Practising under the indirect supervision of a Board-appointed supervisor for 24 months, in a location approved by the Board.

The tribunal hearing into Dr Nitschke’s professional conduct, previously scheduled for November 2015, will not proceed. Concluding the hearing process, the tribunal noted Dr Nitschke’s consent to the conditions being imposed by the Board, which it deemed were necessary to protect the public under section 3 of the National Law.

The role of the Medical Board of Australia is to protect the public and manage risk to patients.

All the Board’s decision-making is guided by the agreed regulatory principles in the National Scheme, including to ensure any regulatory action is proportionate and targeted to manage risk to patients.

The Board expects all registered medical practitioners to meet the standards set in Good medical practice: A code of conduct for doctors in Australia - including section 3.12 on end of life care - and to comply with the law, see section 1.3.

The Board will be making no further comment on this issue.

Media enquiries: Nicole Newton (03) 8708 9200

Download a PDF of this Media statement - Board imposes conditions on Dr Phillip Nitschke, ending legal process - 26 October 2015 (260 KB,PDF)

Page reviewed 26/10/2015