Psychologist Ross Colquhoun loses license over treatment of two patients who died

December 13, 2012

On 5th December 2012 the Psychologists Tribunal of New South Wales(Australia) handed down its determination following a prosecution of Mr Ross Colquhoun by the Health Care Complaints Commission.

Mr Colquhoun was a registered psychologist and the Clinical Director of the Psych ‘n’ Soul Clinic in Sydney. The clinic provided Rapid Opiate Detoxification (“ROD”) to drug addicted patients. The prosecution concerned the treatment of two patients in 2007 and 2008. One was admitted to intensive care following treatment at the clinic. The other patient died two weeks after treatment and his death was the subject of a coronial inquest. Mr Colquhoun assessed both patients as suitable to undergo ROD.

The Tribunal found that Mr Colquhoun failed to:

  • adequately assess the patients; take into account contraindications for the treatment;
  • adequately explain the treatment, including risks, to the patients;
  • adequately explain alternative options;
  • consult other practitioners involved in the patients’ care.

The Tribunal found that Mr Colquhoun’s handling of these patients amounted to professional misconduct as a psychologist and that he was not a suitable person for registration in the profession. The Tribunal accepted the Commission’s submissions that Mr Colquhoun was “unwilling to accept advice and slow to change” and that he would only change “where there is no alternative and not because of any insight on his part.”

The Tribunal cancelled Mr Colquhoun’s registration as a psychologist and also made an order prohibiting him from providing any mental health services in any other capacity (including counseling, assessments and screening of patients), whether provided as public or private health services. 


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