| Justice Peter McClellan says it is important the two former health chiefs |
explain ‘the actions or lack on action’ against John Rolleston.
Photograph: Jeremy Piper/Supplied
Two former heads of the NSW healthcare watchdog have been summoned to appear before the child sexual abuse royal commission.
Justice Peter McClellan signed the summonses after three days of hearing how the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission failed to act swiftly on complaints that a Sydney GP had molested young boys.
The former HCCC commissioners are expected to give evidence on why it took 20 years to deregister John Rolleston even though there were numerous complaints about him in the 1990s.
Rolleston was not struck off until 2013, two years after he was jailed for historical child sexual abuse.
He was found guilty on 30 counts of molesting teenage boys in the 70s and sentenced to four years’ jail.
30 counts - 4 years. He probably thinks it was worth it, especially considering he spent half or less of that time in prison.
He is now on parole and is ill. Theoretically Rolleston, now 79, can reapply to re-register in 2017.
The former HCCC commissioners are likely to be asked why doctors convicted of serious criminal offences are not banned for life.
The new witnesses will extend the time set for this hearing but McClellan said it was important they be heard to explain “the actions or lack on action” in this case.
On Friday the HCCC commissioner, Kieran Pehm, apologised profusely to abuse victims who were badly treated by the agency, which took years to investigate complaints.
“It’s bad. It’s indefensible,” he said.
One of Rolleston’s victims, AWA, now a senior doctor, said in evidence it was disturbing that Rolleston was allowed to consult with patients after multiple complaints.
AWA was molested by Rolleston when he was 15 and again when he was over 18.
Rolleston was once deregistered over medifraud but within months got his licence back. On another occasion it was decided he should be chaperoned when he saw patients.
AWA told McClellan a life ban should be applied in cases such as Rolleston’s and the title of doctor withdrawn. It was outrageous Rolleston could apply to reregister.
The commission will resume on Monday.
Victim tells royal commission he was shocked that paedophile doctor John Rolleston could continue practising medicine after abuse came to light
|Justice Peter McClellan during the royal commission hearings on Wednesday. |
Photograph: Jeremy Piper/AAP/PR
A senior doctor, who was sexually abused as a child by a GP, has said the profession’s response to complaints is grossly inadequate and skewed in favour of doctors.
The doctor was sexually molested by John Rolleston in the 1970s at a private practice in St Ives, Sydney.
The doctor, known by the pseudonym AWF at a royal commission hearing where he is giving evidence, said after reading of Rolleston’s arrest in 2011, he did further research.
AWF said he found out Rolleston had been prohibited by the Medical Board in 2009 from providing any medical service to patients between 11 and 18 years of age. The board became the Medical Council of NSW in 2010.
AWF said when he was abused for a second time by Rolleston he was outside that age range set by the board.
“I remember feeling shocked and angry that Rolleston was allowed to continue practising medicine,” he said.
AWF has worked with remote Aboriginal communities for more than 20 years and is a strong advocate for the protection of children and young people from sexual and other forms of abuse. God bless him!
He said on Thursday he was a patient of Rolleston from the ages of 13 to 20.
“As a medical practitioner and in light of what Rolleston did to me, I am unable to address him by the professional title of doctor,” he told the commission.
AWF had studied as an intern at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and found that by then Rolleston was a senior doctor there.
He said he avoided him and did not raise the subject of child sexual abuse because he feared in those days it would “have more serious professional repercussions for me than for Rolleston”.
AWF said when he saw the limited restrictions the medical board had placed on Rolleston he was concerned he could continue abusing people.
The commission is hearing from seven people who were victims of Rolleston’s abuse at private practices in Sydney and at the Royal North Shore hospital. Rolleston was deregistered in 2013 – two years after he was jailed and can reapply to practise again after four years, though he is now 79, on parole and in poor health.
“For the habitual nature of the most serious of allegations against Rolleston, the conditions imposed by the NSW Medical Board and Medical Tribunal on his continual medical practice, were I believe, were grossly inadequate and not in the best interests of the complainants,” AWF told the commission.
AWF said he would suggest a policy change where doctors deregistered for serious child sexual abuse should not be allowed re-apply for registration after four years.