Doctor banned after having sex with patients

A COFFS Harbour gynaecologist who had sex with vulnerable patients has been banned from practising medicine for at least three years.

The NSW Medical Tribunal heard a "lack of foresight" and problems at home led Dr Michael McKay to make friends with and romance two of the women he was treating and counselling.

He admitted to the health watchdog that in January 2002, he had struck up a relationship with a female patient, accepted "emotional support" in regard to his marriage problems and told her he was having "intimate feelings" towards her.

By March, the pair had separated from their partners and were living together.

The Health Care Complaints Commission originally terminated the complaint but the allegations resurfaced when it was revealed Dr McKay had "blurred" the boundaries with another patient.

She too was going through a marriage breakdown and was also suffering from anorexia.

Medical records showed that between 2006 and 2007, Dr McKay met with the patient more than 120 times, engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct during consultations including "kissing and cuddling" and made home visits.

Eventually he moved into her home but when the relationship deteriorated, the patient went back to her old GP.

The patient told the Tribunal Dr McKay had failed to adequately treat her eating disorder and had encouraged her to be emotionally dependent on him.

The HCCC found that rather than noting the warning signs, Dr McKay had "failed to understand, recognise and appropriately react" the way the doctor/patient relationship was evolving.

Dr McKay was found guilty of breaching the NSW Medical Board Policy on Sexual Misconduct.

In banning Dr McKay from applying for medical registration for at least three years and ordering him to pay costs, the Tribunal noted that sending a strong message of deterrence offered "protection and reassurance to the public that professional standards must be observed and where breaches are brought to light, they are to be made the subject of appropriate criticism".

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