A disturbing case

Once again, political correctness trumps common sense.

Robert Henderson is due to appear before the Human Rights Tribunal on November 30 for telling a nursing home one of its employees was a drug addict.

In 2003, Henderson rang the nursing home and told the charge nurse that a caregiver, who was on a methadone programme, had asked for opiates at his practice.

What’s interesting is that the high court has already thrown this out.

Earlier this year, the High Court at Wellington found Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff’ wrongly ruled against Henderson.

Shroff found the doctor could not provide adequate reasons for his actions and should have only told the home’s manager.

However, the judicial review found it was not up to Henderson to prove the threat and he had told the correct person.

He was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Henderson previously said he believed the home’s residents were in imminent danger and anyone working in a rest home seeking drugs could “have a field day”.

“It would be the easiest thing in the world to slip a few tablets into your pocket and take them home on a regular basis, no one would ever know.”

The problem I have is, given the High Court ruling, why is he still being persecuted?

Henderson said the Office of Human Rights Proceedings was urging him to settle out of court.It considered a fair settlement would be for him to pay $5500, costs of $950, write a letter of apology and undertake training in privacy protocols.

Henderson said while the settlement would be paid for by the Medical Protection Society, he wanted to stand up for GP’s rights to speak out about patients who could compromise the health and safety of others.

“It would be moral cowardice … it would be very wrong,” he told NZ Doctor magazine.

Very wrong indeed. Since when could a minor tribunal re-open a case that had been so conclusively shut down by the High Court? Worse, they’re trying to get him to pay money to make it go away, after he’s won. That just doesn’t seem right.

He identified what appeared to be a real threat, and did the right thing by informing the proper person. The fact that that person was humiliated should come a distant second to the fact they’d lied on their job application form.


  1. Unfortunately, the HRT is bureaucratic monstrosity that is answerable to no-one. It is clear from their offer to date that they have already decided that Rob Henderson is “guilty”. He will lose this one. But good on him for sticking to his guns.

    The HRT should hang their head in shame. Sadly, they have no sense of shame, justice or ethics.

  2. HRT is part of the parallel government that the left is setting up in western cultures which as MacDoctor says are answerable to no-one. The good doctor should tell the HRC where to stick it.

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