Dr Elvin Suet Pang Cheng - Professional misconduct

13 Apr 2017

The Commission prosecuted a complaint before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“Tribunal”) against Dr Elvin Suet Pang Cheng.

It was alleged that between 1993 and 2013 Dr Cheng, a general practitioner who primarily practised in Lidcombe, conducted improper physical examinations of five female patients who consulted him as a general practitioner.  The female patients were aged from 12 to 28 years old at the time of the alleged conduct.

The allegations included that Dr Cheng had engaged in inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature because he:

  • consulted Patient A (then 12 years old) in the absence of a parent or guardian and examined her breasts without clinical reason
  • consulted Patient B (then 13 years old) in the absence of a parent or guardian, examined her breasts and pulled down her tracksuit pants and underwear without clinical reason
  • examined Patient C’s abdomen, pressing down to her pubic bone, and attempted to pull down her underwear in circumstances where Patient C had presented with a sore shoulder and a slight cold
  • examined Patient D’s breasts in circumstances where she had presented with flu-like symptoms
  • examined Patient E’s vulval area in circumstances where she had complained of a rash on her stomach (and no other relevant symptoms) and also examined her breasts without clinical reason

The patients gave evidence before the Tribunal in May 2016.  This was followed by evidence from expert witnesses and Dr Cheng in November 2016.

Dr Cheng made some minor admissions but he denied that he had engaged in inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature and he denied that his conduct amounted to either unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct.

Decision

In its decision dated 6 April 2017, the Tribunal found the facts of the complaints proven.  The Tribunal found all five of the female patients to be truthful and credible witnesses. Significantly, it found that Dr Cheng he had “touched them in circumstances where there was no adequate or appropriate clinical reason for doing so, other than sexual gratification”.

The Tribunal found Dr Cheng guilty of both unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct.


Further Information

The full decision is available at NSW Caselaw

Stage 2 media release can be found here

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.