Sexual misconduct tops list of doctor disciplinary instances

AUSTRALIA is ahead of the US when it comes to doctor sexual misconduct, and male Australian doctors are four times more likely than their female peers to face discipline for any form of misconduct, new research reveals.

A University of Melbourne study of 485 doctors disciplined by medical regulatory bodies across Australia and New Zealand between 2000 and 2009 found 24% of offences were listed as “sexual misconduct” – including 16% listed as “relationship with patient” and 8% as “inappropriate sexual contact”.

“Sexual misconduct appears to feature as a far more prevalent misconduct type in Australia and New Zealand than the US,” researchers wrote. 

The study, published in the latest MJA, indicated that historically just 4–10% of US disciplinary cases were for sexual misconduct.

Overall, male doctors in Australia were far more likely than females to be disciplined.