Review of past handling of complaints against Dr Graeme Reeves
5 March 2008
Between 1990 and 2007, the Commission received 24 complaints about Dr Reeves. These complaints concerned Dr Reeves’ treatment of 25 patients (one complaint from the Medical Board concerned two patients).
1990 to 1996
There were 14 patients whose treatment by Dr Reeves was the subject of complaint. Nine of these formed the basis for the Commission’s prosecution of Dr Reeves before a Professional Standards Committee (PSC) of the NSW Medical Board.
The cases brought before the PSC concerned Dr Reeves’ conduct dating from 1990 relating to the practice of obstetrics (childbirth).
The PSC decided on 21 July 1997 to impose various conditions on Dr Reeves, including that he not practice obstetrics.
The Commission received another three complaints about Dr Reeves and investigated all of them.
The Commission obtained expert opinions on Dr Reeves’ conduct. In two cases, the experts found no grounds for criticism of Dr Reeves’ treatment of the patient. In the third, which concerned care provided in 1995-96 relating to childbirth, the expert was mildly to moderately critical of the care provided.
In view of the conditions recently imposed on Dr Reeves’ practice by the PSC, the Commission, after consultation with the Medical Board, decided no further action was required.
The Commission received two complaints concerning Dr Reeves’ rudeness and general poor communication. There were no significant clinical issues involved. The Commission referred the second complaint to the Medical Board, which was considering referring Dr Reeves to its performance assessment program.
The Commission received one complaint about verbal abuse by Dr Reeves, which the Commission also referred to the Medical Board.
In November 2002, the Commission received a complaint about an inappropriate internal examination and breast examination by Dr Reeves in his private practice at Pambula.
The Commission referred this complaint to the Medical Board, which advised that it would conduct a performance review of Dr Reeves’ practice.
The Commission received a complaint about a death in surgery in 1999. A registrar, with Dr Reeves as a consultant, had performed the surgery.
The Commission obtained a report on the matter from the Area Health Service. This was reviewed by a Commission medical adviser.
The Commission decided that there were no grounds for investigation. The matter was finalised after a meeting between the complainant and a Commission resolution officer.
The Commission received a complaint about gall bladder surgery by Dr Reeves in 2002. The Commission decided to take no further action on this complaint because Dr Reeves had been de-registered.
In April 2007, there was a further complaint to the Commission against Dr Reeves. The letter of complaint concluded by noting that Dr Reeves three year deregistration would expire in August 2007 and asked what action the Commission would take. The Commission advised that the Medical Board defended applications to re-register it would send the papers to the Medical Board so that they could be submitted to any Tribunal should Dr Reeves apply to re-register.
There were two complaints received by the Commission concerning Dr Reeves while he was working at Pambula/Bega hospitals:
- the first, in 2002, concerned Dr Reeves’ conduct in his private practice
- the second, in 2004, did concern surgery in Pambula Hospital but was received after Dr Reeves was deregistered.
The Commission is still reviewing the documentation involved in its prosecution of Dr Reeves before the Medical Tribunal resulting in his deregistration in August 2004.
For further information, contact Kim Swan, Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contacting the Health Care Complaints Commission
Level 13, 323 Castlereagh Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000
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STRAWBERRY HILLS NSW 2012
Telephone: (02) 9219 7444
Toll Free in NSW: 1800 043 159
Fax: (02) 9280 4585
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.