A man so desperate to be a doctor in New Zealand that he failed to disclose he had been disciplined overseas has been convicted of forgery.
The man, who cannot be named, was disciplined in Malta for an ethical breach after a complaint by a patient in 2013. But he did not disclose that to authorities in New Zealand when he applied for registration here.
It was discovered only after he had been working at the Whanganui DHB as a junior doctor, and he was charged with forgery and using a document to gain an advantage.
The 37-year-old pleaded guilty and is currently suspended by the Medical Council of New Zealand.
He applied for a discharge without conviction and permanent name suppression, both of which were refused by Wellington District Court judge Peter Hobbs on Wednesday.
Interim suppression was granted to allow the man to appeal.
The judge said the man came here from Australia in August 2015 and applied for registration
As part of that, he provided a certificate of good standing from Malta, where he had worked, and indicated on that form that there had been no previous disciplinary proceedings.
He then got a job at the Whanganui DHB, but was stood down over competency issues. The Medical Council undertook a review and discovered the disciplinary matters from Malta.
The judge said the registration process relied on honesty, and what he did undermined the process.
He said it was fair to say it did potentially expose patients to risk, and courts should not conceal such issues.
He declined the application for a discharge without conviction, but did not impose any further penalty than the conviction.
Lawyer John Dean said the man was a highly qualified doctor. He had a document from Malta that included his being reprimanded for an ethical matter on its second page.
“He saw the only way to get a job in New Zealand was to not tick the box that said he had any disciplinary matters and, instead of handing it in, copied it without the second page.”
Dean asked the judge to discharge the man without conviction, saying: “That one episode should not crucify him for the rest of his life.”
New Zealand News