Dr Richard Reid – Professional misconduct – Disqualified for five years

25 September 2018

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint against retired gynaecologist Dr Richard Reid before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. 

The complaint related to the treatment of 16 surgical patients from 2010 – 2014. The primary focus of the complaints was Dr Reid’s recommendations and consent for surgery using the ‘Tissue Fixation System’ pelvic ligament mesh device (“TFS”) at the Sydney Private Hospital in Ashfield. The Commission also alleged that Dr Reid:

  • Inappropriately breached professional boundaries with a further patient during his examinations of her.
  • Acted dishonestly when communicating to the hospital, the Commission, the Medical Council of NSW and patients.
  • Breached conditions on his registration requiring him to take certain steps before surgery.

On 24 September 2018, the Tribunal published its decision. Overall the Tribunal noted that Dr Reid failed to implement individualised care plans to patients’ detriment, while his clinical errors of judgment were made often without appropriate warnings and information to patients. It found more specifically that Dr Reid:

  • Should have sought second opinions before surgery or conducted further investigations.
  • Failed to follow the Royal Australian College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist’s guidance on offering non-mesh repair to patients.
  • Made some inappropriate post-surgery recommendations, for example, telling a patient to self-catheterise for life or to undergo repeat surgery shortly after the initial surgery. 
  • Breached conditions on his registration requiring him to refer patients for urodynamic testing or to a colorectal surgeon beforehand.
  • Failed to provide a patient with a modesty sheet at a number of consultations before conducting his pelvic examinations, inappropriately patted her buttocks and made inappropriate comments about her body and appearance.

The Tribunal found generally that Dr Reid failed to fully inform patients before surgeries including about surgical risks, that the approach he was taking was not widely followed in Australia, and that the hospital had imposed a supervision restriction on him.  In one case he failed to obtain any consent to use the TFS device.  

The Tribunal also found that Dr Reid inappropriately concealed his overseas disciplinary past from the hospital when applying to work there, concealed and mislead the Medical Council of NSW and the Commission about his hospital restrictions and TFS surgeries.  It also found he misused academic titles (such as “Associate Professor”) in his advertising and communication with patients.

The Tribunal found that the substantiated allegations amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct and that Dr Reid’s surgical judgment and care so serious that it satisfied the definition of professional misconduct.  It separately found that his breach of conditions and his lack of honesty with the hospital, the Council and Commission and when using academic titles also amounted to professional misconduct.

As Dr Reid is not currently registered, the Tribunal made an order disqualifying Dr Reid from seeking registration for a period of five years, finding that his “behaviour was at the most serious end of the spectrum” and that he displayed “an inability or unwillingness to acknowledge that he acted as though the rules governing other professionals did not apply to him.”

The Tribunal’s decision and its reasons can be found on the NSW Case Law website here.


Further Information

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.