Family doctor admits having sex with vulnerable patients

1:23 pm on 25 June 2019

A Wellington family doctor has today pleaded guilty to professional misconduct, after he had sex with vulnerable women patients.

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Photo: 123RF

Deane Drew appeared before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal in Wellington today, charged by a Medical Council professional conduct committee with professional misconduct.

The charge related to personal and or sexual relationships with four former patients - who have name suppression - between 1991 and 2016.

Dr Drew did not contest the charge and the tribunal said it had been established within two hours of the hearing beginning.

The charge against Dr Drew, which he accepted, included prescribing drugs of dependence and psychotropic medications to three of the four women while they were patients and knowing that they were mentally vulnerable.

Counsel for the Medical Council's professional conduct committee Kate Feltham told the hearing Dr Drew was the GP for two of the women for 20 years.

She said the shortest sexual relationship involved lasted seven months, while the longest was for many years.

She said it was a gross breach of trust by Dr Drew, that each of the women patients was vulnerable to differing degrees and Dr Drew took advantage of them in pursuing relationships with them.

Ms Feltham said Dr Drew's registration as a GP should be cancelled.

Counsel for the doctor, Harry Waalkens QC, said Dr Drew accepted that the tribunal would cancel his registration. He said this would have "catastrophic financial and other reputational harm" and consequences for his client.

Mr Waalkens said Dr Drew had already suffered considerable shame and a fall from grace, which had also been highly publicised by the media.

He said Dr Drew, who attended today's hearing, was remorseful.

Dr Drew also wanted to apologise to the women complainants, to the medical profession and to his family.