Manitoba's physician regulatory body took too long to impose penalties on a doctor who prescribed Oxycontin to two massage parlor workers he was having sex with, the province’s health minister said today.
"There are people who say this was taking too long and I might be inclined to agree with that," Theresa Oswald said during a break in a press conference to promote Manitoba’s annual compaign for flu shot vaccines.
Earlier today, reports revealed a Winnipeg doctor was suspended for up to 18 months for having sexual relations with two women patients to whom he prescribed Oxycontin.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba has issued its ruling against Dr. Randy Raymond Allan after Allan pleaded guilty to professional misconduct charges at an inquiry Sept. 11.
Oswald said if it were not for legislative amendment her government brought in, the public might not have found out about Allan's actions.
"The public has the right to know as much as possible, which is why we amended the legislation to require the college to post disciplinary action on their website," Oswald said.
The province, like every other province, allows regulatory bodies, such as the college, to police their profession, within the confines of the law.
The college found that Allan "failed to maintain appropriate boundaries with two female patients, and specifically that he had personal and sexual relations with them during the same periods that he was providing medical care to them.
"Issued prescriptions for Oxycontin to both patients... because of his personal and sexual relations with them."
The college said that Allan did not create complete medical records for the two female patients, and that he issued bills to Manitoba Health for reported house calls which he made for the purposes of personal and sexual relations with the two women.
The college said Allan testified he met the two women when he went to massage parlours to engage their services as prostitutes.
Allan worked at the Main Street Medical Centre, but he has not practised at the clinic since June 2010 as he was under investigation by Manitoba's physician regulatory body.
Oswald's remarks were focused around the province’s efforts to tighten up how regulatory bodies operate. But she made it clear the province has no interest or expertise in taking over the regulatory powers and imposing justice on doctors or other professionals in health care who are accused or found to be guilty of misconduct.
"The professional colleges are tasked with judging their colleagues" and "assessing appropropriate level of disciplinary action," Oswald said.
She said regulations still to be proclaimed will tighten up reporting requirements for doctors and nurses in another year.
In the meantime, it will be up to the college to decide when the public finds out about doctors who are punished for misconduct.