15 Jul 2019
A former Northern Territory dentist has been reprimanded and disqualified from holding or applying for registration until 1 July 2020 for professional misconduct after he inappropriately prescribed medication to a family member and himself.
The Dental Board of Australia (the Board) began an investigation into Dr Desmond Worboys’ conduct in May 2016 following a notification from a pharmacist in relation to Dr Worboys’ prescription of benzodiazepines to a family member.
The investigation found that from 1 September 2011 to 31 July 2016, Dr Worboys issued up to 65 prescriptions for benzodiazepines, up to 69 prescriptions for antibiotics and up to 15 prescriptions for paracetamol and/or codeine in a family member’s name. Each had been presented to a pharmacy and filled.
It also found that during that time Dr Worboys issued one prescription for benzodiazepines and six prescriptions for antibiotics in his own name. All prescriptions were filled under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme with the last prescriptions issued in May 2016 after Dr Worboys had received notice of the notification made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
The Immediate Action Committee of the Board took action in November 2016 to impose a condition on Dr Worboys’ registration preventing him from prescribing any medication until approved to do so by the Board. Later that month he surrendered his registration. The Board referred the matter to the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) in September 2017 alleging he had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct.
The tribunal found that Dr Worboys engaged in professional misconduct by inappropriately prescribing medication to his family member and himself and failing to provide adequate treatment and care to a family member.
It found he acted outside the scope of his registered health specialty in the treatment and care of a family member, failed to maintain professional boundaries in relation to his treatment and care of a family member and in doing so acted in a way that was contrary to the profession’s code of conduct. Dr Worboys also provided false and misleading information to an investigator regarding his prescribing and his employment status.