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Conduct: Online posting of images and messages.

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Medical Board of Australia v Lee (Review and Regulation) [2022] VCAT 667 (on AUSTLII).

A medical practitioner has had his registration cancelled for conduct that was ‘outrageous’ and ‘far beyond the standards expected’ of the profession. Dr Lee admitted to making social media posts that were ‘utterly unacceptable’ and agreed that his conduct amounted to professional misconduct and that he should be reprimanded. However, he disagreed with the Board’s submission that his registration should be cancelled.

The Tribunal decision at [1] noted that the social media postings included photos of deceased persons, extreme misogynistic commentary, endorsing violence against women, xenophobic, racist, bigoted or discriminatory commentary, commentary endorsing or expressing positive views regarding violence against persons with mental illness, physical disabilities or drug abuse issues and the provision of medical advice, often in a flippant manner or in a manner that had the potential to demean, diminish, humiliate or alarm those to whom the advice was being provided.

The Tribunal found that with the totality of the medical evidence that Dr Lee’s medical condition (autism) had played a material role in his conduct and as it is ‘now being treated and managed effectively, and given his relatively young age (35), it would be unfortunate if he were never able to return to practice.’

Accordingly, it found that while it was necessary to cancel Dr Lee’s registration, the total disqualification period should be four and a half years, expiring on 9 December 2023. It stated that while any further registration of Dr Lee was a matter for the Board, it hoped that it would engage constructively with Dr Lee on what sort of evidence it may require to achieve the necessary level of comfort for him to return to practice, with or without conditions, in a medical setting in early 2024.

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