This article appeared in the New Zealand Herald on Sunday the 15th of April, 2012
The medical adviser for the ACC sensitive claims unit left two previous jobs amid controversy.
Dr Peter Dodwell resigned as principal medical officer for the Civil Aviation Authority after a report found an unacceptably high error rate in decisions whether or not to clear pilots as medically fit to fly planes.
The Scott-Gorman report into medical certificates for pilots also alleged the process for initially appointing doctors, supervised by Dodwell, had been “flawed from the outset”.
Dodwell sought a judicial review against the CAA for failing to give him an opportunity to respond to the damning report.
CAA director John Jones later apologised to Dodwell as part of an out-of-court settlement.
The ACC sensitive-claims unit has been part of a scandal involving thousands of claimants’ details being mistakenly released to another claimant by email.
Minister for ACC Judith Collins refused to comment on Dodwell’s appointment, saying employment matters were the responsibility of ACC. Spokes-woman Stephanie Melville declined to answer questions about whether ACC was aware of the previous controversies before employing Dodwell.
Dodwell went on to work in health in NSW, but was reportedly sacked in 2008.
This week, blogger Kyle MacDonald was forced to edit a post which contained information about Dodwell’s employment history after legal threats.
MacDonald said the post was changed after legal counsel for Dodwell expressed concerns about the impact of the post on his ongoing professional reputation.
The blog had posted a link and comment from a Sydney Morning Herald article about Dodwell’s departure from Healthquest.
Dodwell was sacked for communicating inappropriately with the Education Board about a teacher it intended to employ.
An investigation by the former NSW Police deputy police commissioner David Madden found Dodwell inappropriately passed on information regarding the teacher – who had been found fit for duty by HealthQuest in 2006 – to the Education Department in an attempt to adversely influence its decision to employ her.
Madden found two of the five allegations made by the teacher against Dodwell were substantiated. An independent review by former magistrate John Heagney supported the Madden findings.
The teacher was medically retired after being declared unfit for duty, a decision overturned by the Medical Appeals Panel five months later.
Madden said the teacher had had no opportunity to defend herself against Dodwell’s claims and he should be disciplined for breaching privacy restrictions
To date he he has not been the subject of any tribunal proceedings in Australia.
Dodwell has indicated that there are two sides to the story of his departure from the CAA but did not respond to requests for comment this week.
By Joanne Carroll