Andrew McRae for RNZ
The Medical Council has apologised to survivors of abuse in the adolescent unit at Lake Alice Hospital in the 1970s.
The council failed to act on complaints made to it in past years about the head of the unit, Dr Selwyn Leeks, and his use of electric shock treatment as punishment.
It has given an apology on Wednesday at the Royal Commission Inquiry into Abuse in Care in Auckland.
Deputy chief executive Aleyna Hall said the council acknowledged the hurt experienced by survivors of Lake Alice.
''Apologises for any actions that the Medical Council of the time should have taken, but did not.
''The Medical Council is sorry.''
Hall said due to the length of time that had passed since the complaints were made and the incompleteness of records, it was unable to provide reasons for the decisions that were made in the past in relation to complaints of abuse or in relation to Dr Leeks.
''The council accepts that some complainants have been dissatisfied and disappointed with those decisions and it sincerely apologises for any hurt that has occurred as a result,'' she said.
''The current Medical Council of New Zealand has asked me to convey its clear and absolute position that it strongly condemns misconduct by any doctor that results in harm to the patient or to the public."
Counsel for the commission Andrew Molloy asked Hall to outline exactly what she was apologising for.
She said it was for not taking the right action.
"If it was today there is no way Dr Leeks would be practising," Hall replied.
"Our job is to protect the public, we are not here to protect doctors.
"It was a shortcoming, if you like, of the Medical Council and he should have not been allowed to continue to practice."