Dr Phillipa Rickard – Professional misconduct

05 Oct 2017

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) against Dr Phillipa Rickard, a medical practitioner. The complaint alleged unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct in relation to the practitioner’s relationship with a patient. The circumstances included:

  • The patient lived at a residential drug and alcohol service and suffered alcohol dependence, epilepsy and depression
  • Dr Rickard provided medical care to patients at the service twice a week
  • Dr Rickard wrote personal notes to the patient, gave him a poem and secretly went away with him on weekends
  • Dr Rickard commenced a sexual relationship with the patient and offered him accommodation in her own home, and
  • Dr Rickard continued to prescribe medications to the patient.

By the time of the hearing on 13 July 2017, Dr Rickard had made full admissions and surrendered her registration. Dr Rickard continued to have a close relationship with the patient, who still lived with her.

Decision

On 4 August 2017 the Tribunal published its decision.  It was highly critical of Dr Rickard’s conduct, finding her guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. The Tribunal ordered that:

  • If Dr Rickard had still been registered, it would have cancelled her registration
  • Dr Rickard cannot apply to re-register for three years
  • Dr Rickard be prohibited from providing any health service, whether on a public, private or volunteer basis including community health services, counselling, mental health services and welfare services.

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.