NZ doctor suspended in Australia

A New Zealand doctor found to have accepted $150,000 from a dying patient has been suspended from practice in Australia.

Dr Jonathan Graham Wright was found to have breached professional and ethical standards when he accepted the money from terminal cancer sufferer Cornelis Soeters, 81.

He was suspended from practice and fined but escaped the sanction by moving to Australia before the ruling by the Health Practioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT).

But his Australian registration was suspended on April 30, two days after the New Zealand ruling, the Cairns Post reported.

The Medical Board of Australia confirmed he could no longer practice but would not comment further.

His surgery confirmed Wright was on "indefinite leave".

The Cairns Post also reported Wright bought a A$2.5 million home on Trinity Beach last year.

The HPDT decision said Mr Soeters was given weeks to live after a cancer diagnosis in October 2011.

The "stubborn" and eccentric bachelor cashed in shares, donating $100,000 to the Fred Hollows Foundation and transferring $150,000 into an account in Wright's name to spend on the health needs of the local community.

Wright said his patient had been adamant he accept the money, and keep it secret. However, Soeters' son discovered bank documents detailing the transaction shortly before his death.

The tribunal also heard Wright had a previous conviction for claiming false expenses of $18,300 while working with the Accident Compensation Corporation. Wright was also censured and fined for over-prescribing diet pills to a patient in 1998.


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