Being publicly named will follow a health practitioner for the rest of their career, long after they have learned from their mistakes
If you were thinking that pharmacists are more often named in disciplinary decisions than certain other health practitioners, you would be right. Pharmacists are significantly less likely to be granted permanent name suppression than doctors or nurses, research covering 15 years of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal shows.
The research, led by University of Otago professor of psychological medicine Lois Surgenor, was published in The Journal of Law and Medicine last December. It looked at all available HPDT decisions from 2004 – when it was set up – to 2020, analysing 420 cases.
Taking a closer look at the 302 cases involving medical practitioners, nurses and pharmacists, the researchers found pharmacists were less likely to seek permanent name suppression than doctors or nurses and were more likely to have suppression declined if they did apply.
Researchers also write that while there was no significant difference in the rate of those seeking name suppression, the outcomes were significantly different.
Their figures show pharmacists did not apply for name suppression in 64 per cent of cases, compared with 49 per cent (doctors) and 56 per cent (nurses).
On the question of approval, figures show 31 per cent of pharmacists sought name suppression and were declined. Only two cases (4.4 per cent) had their bid for name suppression approved.
For medical practitioners, 23 per cent were sought and declined, and 28 per cent were approved. Twenty-four per cent of nurses sought name suppression and were declined, while 19.5 per cent of them sought suppression and were approved.
Professor Surgenor declined to be interviewed but Pharmacy Today approached one of the solicitors who frequently appear at the HPDT in cases involving pharmacists.