Mr Garth Duggan - Registration Cancelled for Six years

22 March 2016

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted Mr Garth Duggan, an osteopath, before the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (‘NCAT’). The prosecution related to incidents involving three female patients in late 2009 and early 2010.

The Commission argued that Mr Duggan was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. The complaints alleged clinically unwarranted touching of the pelvic and pubic regions of all three patients, and vaginal penetration of two of them. Mr Duggan was also alleged to have extremely poor, or non-existent, history taking, consent and treatment documentation practices.

Decision

On 17 March 2016, NCAT found all particulars of the complaints proven. 

NCAT considered that the matters concerning clinically unjustified touching of the patient’s pubic, pelvic and vaginal areas, without informed consent, were of such gravity in terms of their impact upon the patients, and the gross breach of professional and ethical standards involved, as to be professional misconduct in their own right. NCAT considered that the matters concerning clinical record keeping, inadequate record keeping and conducting an HVLA adjustment without consent amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct.

Noting the severity of the misconduct, the inherent power imbalance and the number of vulnerable female patients involved, NCAT cancelled Mr Duggan’s registration as an osteopath and imposed a number of orders including that he is:

  • reprimanded in the strongest terms
  • unable to apply for review for six years
  • prohibited from providing any health services until such time as a reinstatement order is made
  •      

Further Information

The full decision is available at NSW Caselaw.

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.

The information in this media release is correct at the time of publication. Orders may change; for example, conditions may no longer apply. For current information regarding the status of a registered health practitioner, including any conditions that currently apply, please check the National Register at www.ahpra.gov.au.