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 Doctor Faces Human Rights Tribunal

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lilgirllost
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PostSubject: Doctor Faces Human Rights Tribunal   Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:17 pm

DOCTOR FACES HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL

An Invercargill doctor fronted a human rights tribunal yesterday to settle claims he wrongfully divulged personal information about a care-worker to her employer, which he says he did to protect resthome residents.

Dr Robert Henderson appeared before the Human Rights Review Tribunal made up of Royden Hindle, Jacquie Grant and Ken Shirley in Invercargill.

It relates to a 2003 incident when Dr Henderson phoned a staff member at the woman's workplace, a Southland resthome.

He told a nurse the woman was on the methadone programme, exhibited drug seeking characteristics at a visit to the Urgent Doctor's surgery and had criminal convictions for drug-related offences. The woman's identity and the name of the resthome are suppressed.

The matter was before the tribunal after the High Court this year found the Privacy Commissioner wrongly ruled against Dr Henderson.

The director of human rights proceedings had urged Dr Henderson to settle by way of compensation and a letter of apology but he refused.

He told the tribunal he felt there was a risk the safety of the home's vulnerable patients could be jeopardised.

The woman had been flagged as a drug user following an incident in 1999 when she was believed to have been seen in the "drug room" at the Urgent Doctor surgery.

The woman yesterday admitted she was a recovering drug addict and on the methadone programme for past opium use.

She did not tell her employer she was on the programme because she was advised she did not have to, she told the tribunal.

The woman was not qualified to administer medication to residents at the home, which was a restricted procedure.

In December 2002, she injured her back at work and after getting no relief from prescribed medication, sought more relief at the urgent doctor, she said.

She claimed the doctor told her "there had been a few of you in this week trying to score drugs" and that narcotics were not kept on the property. He reluctantly prescribed a non-opiate based painkiller and told her not to go home and eat them all at once, she told the tribunal.

She complained about the doctor's treatment and Dr Henderson reviewed that complaint.

In January 2003 she was summoned to her employers' office because Dr Henderson had spoken to a nurse about her involvement on the methadone programme and her behaviour.

No disciplinary action was taken but they expressed disappointment about not being told.

Word spread among staff and she felt "like a criminal" and was embarrassed. She denied being caught in the drug room at the surgery saying she was not living in Invercargill at the time.

Ad Feedback A resthome manager told the tribunal if it was known the woman was on the methadone programme she may not have been hired.

This comes from The Southland Times and the original link is:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/4408058/Doctor-faces-human-rights-tribunal


RuthAnn
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