Psychiatrist loses licence over sex affair payment
By Jill Stark
A PSYCHIATRIST who paid a former patient $100,000 not to report their seven-year sexual affair has lost his medical licence.
Dr John Honey was found guilty of serious unprofessional conduct yesterday, after the Medical Practitioners Board ruled he had paid the woman, partly to keep their relationship quiet.
The Footscray doctor was banned from practising for at least two years after his conduct was deemed a \”breach of trust, misuse of power, and exploitation of a former patient\’s vulnerability\”.
He was also found to have inappropriately prescribed her antidepressants, and breached confidentiality by discussing former patients with her.
Dr Joanna Flynn, chairwoman of the three-person panel, said the woman, a school teacher, had formed a dependency and was young and vulnerable.
At an earlier hearing the woman told the board she had an affair with the psychiatrist from 1997 to 2004. She had signed an agreement stating she would be paid $100,000 and would not lodge a complaint against him.
Dr Flynn said Dr Honey\’s motives in paying the money were due in part to him knowing the relationship was wrong and to help the woman with gambling debts, but also to ensure she would not report him.
And while his conduct was \”not reprehensible, shameful or coercive\”, and he acknowledged he had made a gross error of judgement, his actions still fell \”short of accepted standards\”, Dr Flynn said.
Dr Honey will be disqualified from applying for re-registration for two years.