Practicing doctor given more time to pass medical exams

A SENIOR doctor at Mackay Hospital who has been working on a limited licence has had his bid to have more time to gain the necessary additional requirements for a full licence granted.

Nicolae Cruceru, who has worked at the hospital for more than a decade and performed more than 9000 procedures without incident, received a special purpose registration under the Medical Practitioners Registration Act in July, 2003, after he moved to Australia from South Africa.

This registration permitted him to work at the Mackay Hospital to meet an area of need for medical services and he has worked as a senior medical officer in anaesthetics ever since.

However, in July 2007, special purpose registration conditions changed which meant Dr Cruceru was required to apply for general, specialist, or what was then s138 registration, within four years.

The Australian Medical Board granted him limited registration for a further period, after he failed two medical exams, which ended on December 4, 2013, on the proviso he progress to either general or specialist registration no later than June 30 this year.

However, Dr Cruceru's attempts to gain the necessary registration were thwarted after his wife was diagnosed with a terminal illness and he missed the deadline.

The Australian Medical Board claimed that while the circumstances of Dr Cruceru's wife's illness were utterly tragic, it believed his ability to pass the examination would not improve in the future.

Furthermore, it claimed during a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing, given the stress of the events had been significant enough to cause him substantial difficulties with his examinations, there must also be a public risk factor.

Although it conceded Dr Cruceru posed no risk of harm to patients.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren found that this was a case in which it is desirable for the decision under review to be stayed until the tribunal makes further orders.

"Undoubtedly his wife's tragic medical condition would have proved stressful," he said.

"However, there is no evidence upon which to conclude that this stress has posed, or is likely in the future to pose, a risk to patients in the performance by Dr Cruceru of his clinical duties."

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