Former Albany surgeon George Campbell Du Toit has been cleared to practice after a tribunal overturned a decision by a health ombudsman that placed strict conditions on him. Dr Du Toit had been an obstetrician and gynaecologist at the WA Country Health Service facility between 2016 and 2020 before moving to Queensland. However, he was suspended at Mackay Base Hospital in October 2021 — just over a year after becoming the hospital’s clinical director of obstetrics and gynaecology. The suspension came amid a scathing review by the Mackay Hospital and Health Service into his department. Dr Du Toit resigned six months before the report was handed down. It later resulted in a ruling to severely limit his practice and ban him from performing or assisting in surgical procedures. Dr Du Toit appealed to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which last Wednesday published a decision overturning the initial ruling. The obstetrician said in a statement that he had always denied “any inappropriate conduct” and labelled the investigation as “incredibly frustrating” and a “difficult journey”. “The action was taken despite my strong denials of any inappropriate conduct to the Health Ombudsman,” Dr Du Toit said. “It has been an incredibly difficult journey for me but I am very grateful that these serious allegations, once subjected to the proper amount of scrutiny, have been dismissed. “As I pointed out to the Health Ombudsman at the outset, the expert engaged to review my conduct wrongly accused me of misconduct in respect of five patients, in circumstances where the hospital records clearly showed that I was not the surgeon responsible. “It was incredibly frustrating to me that this obvious error was persisted in for over 12 months and only conceded days before the commencement of the tribunal hearing. “I am very much looking forward to returning to practice.” Queensland Health Ombudsman Lynne Coulson Barr said the QCAT decision had immediately set aside the restrictions placed on Dr du Toit. “As a regulator of health practitioners in Queensland, public safety is our priority,” Dr Coulson said. “The purpose of an immediate action review hearing is not to assess disciplinary allegations but whether interim action is necessary on the basis that a practitioner poses a serious risk to the health and safety of the public. “There are aspects of these proceedings which remain on foot before the tribunal.” Dr Du Toit is not currently employed by WA Health.