The Medical Board of Australia has emerged victorious in the latest chapter of its long-running case against cardiologist Dr Keith Woollard.
The disciplinary matter revolves around its allegation of professional misconduct against the former AMA president in relation to the 2005 death of a patient following angioplasty.
In 2012, the board notified Dr Woollard of a complaint by the patient’s widow, but did not file an application with the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia until 2014.
Meanwhile, in 2013 Dr Woollard faced the tribunal over his treatment of two other patients, which led to him being banned from performing angioplasties, angiograms and stenting for a minimum five years.
In July 2015 the medical board amended its complaint over the 2005 death, adding new allegations.
These new allegations were that Dr Woollard had not performed the necessary 200 angioplasties to be trained according to Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand guidelines, and had knowingly misled the relevant hospital as to the number of procedures he had performed.
Dr Woollard then applied to the tribunal to dismiss the complaint on the grounds of abuse of process.
On 17 March 2016, the WA tribunal made orders striking out the board’s new allegations, citing delay in bringing the proceedings and lack of public interest in the allegations, and concluding that to continue with proceedings would be “so unfairly and unjustifiably oppressive as to constitute an abuse of process”.
The board appealed this decision in the WA Supreme Court of Appeal.
In April 2017, the appeal was successful with the court overturning the tribunal’s decision.
The court made a substitute order that dismissed Dr Woollard’s application to have the board’s allegations in the tribunal struck out or dismissed as an abuse of process.
Dr Woollard was ordered to pay costs.