Medical Board of Australia
Former medical practitioner disqualified from applying for registration after sexual relationship with patient
02 May 2017
A former medical practitioner has been reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration after admitting to a sexual relationship with a patient.
In July 2016, the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred Dr Arvid Linde, a psychiatrist, to the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia (the tribunal) alleging, among other things, that he engaged in professional misconduct in that he failed to maintain professional boundaries and inappropriately engaged in a sexual relationship with a patient.
On 4 April 2017, the tribunal found that Dr Linde behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct in that he:
– failed to maintain professional boundaries with a patient
– inappropriately engaged in a sexual relationship with the patient
– breached Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia and
– acted contrary to Sexual Boundaries: Guidelines for Doctors.
Dr Linde had surrendered his registration with the Board the previous day.
The tribunal reprimanded Dr Linde and disqualified him from applying for registration as a health practitioner for 15 months from 4 April 2017. He was also ordered to pay the Board’s costs.
The tribunal noted that had Dr Linde still been registered, the seriousness of the admitted conduct was such that the Board would have asked that his registration be suspended for 15 months.
Dr Linde admitted early on that his personal relationship with the patient did involve a sexual element.
By way of mitigation, he submitted, among other things, that:
– the relationship began as a friendship, which then slowly and gradually developed into a more personal relationship after careful consideration, and later developed into a sexual relationship. The relationship was loving and mutually consented to
– he was not aware the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Code of Ethics (July 2010) provides that a personal relationship between a psychiatrist and a former patient is always unethical, and
– he was a respected psychiatrist of some 41 years’ standing, he does not present a risk to patients and there is no risk of him repeating his conduct.