Dr Helmut Brunner – Professional misconduct

23 Jun 2017

The Health Care Complaints Commission (‘The Commission’) prosecuted a complaint before the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘the Tribunal’) in relation to Dr Helmut Brunner, a general practitioner, for unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct in relation to the prescribing of drugs of addiction for a number of patients. Dr Brunner, aged 75, admitted the complaint and in 2016 surrendered his registration indicating by statutory declaration his intention to retire and never return to the practice of medicine.

The Commission and Dr Brunner, with the agreement of the Medical Council of NSW, applied to the Tribunal to withdraw the complaint and discontinue proceedings in the circumstances where:

  • The health and safety of the public was not at risk given the respondent’s retirement, advanced age and future intentions;
  • the proceedings indicated to the public and medical profession that the conduct was unacceptable;
  • and the cost of further proceedings would be saved.

Decision

The presiding member accepted there was no risk to the public involved and decided to record a finding of professional misconduct in the case before discontinuing the inquiry without further orders as the preferable course in considering the Tribunal’s role in the public interest to deter practitioners from similar conduct and, in protecting health and safety, publicly acknowledge unacceptable standards. 


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.