A doctor has been censured and ordered to pay $20,000 by the NZ Health and Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal for putting patient safety at risk.

The doctor faced two charges of professional misconduct laid against him by the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC), appointed by the Medical Council of NZ.

In the first charge, it was alleged that the doctor failed to review a patient admitted under his care, potentially compromising her care and safety.

The doctor was also alleged to have failed to return to hospital to supervise the registrar who was performing a Hartmann's procedure on a patient.


A patient suffering from Crohn's disease was admitted to the hospital and placed under the doctor's care, who was the consultant general surgeon on call that day.

The tribunal found the doctor, on balance of probabilities, did not adequately review the patient between the Sunday and Friday.

There was no patient review or examination notes made.

But the tribunal said the failure to review the patient did potentially compromise her care and safety, but accepted the expert view sought that in this case, the patient's care was adequate.

"The tribunal was not satisfied that the practitioner's conduct was so seriously negligent ... as to warrant a disciplinary sanction," wrote tribunal chairwoman Maria Dew.

"However, the tribunal does not in any way wish to be taken as sanctioning such conduct."

But the tribunal found the doctor to be both negligent and brought, or likely to have brought discredit to the profession in the second charge.

"The practitioner did fail to return to hospital ... to supervise and provide appropriate support to the registrar ... while she was performing a Hartmann's procedure," Dew said.


"The failure to attend this acute and complex operation was a serious failure by the practitioner that does warrant disciplinary action."

The tribunal found that it was a "serious dereliction of duty" as consultant surgeon for the doctor not to attend.

The tribunal censured the doctor and ordered him to pay $20,000 as contribution to the costs and expenses of the tribunal and the PCC.