Hungarian doctor who received over €12,000 from elderly patient has registration suspended

A doctor received sums totalling about €12,650 from a seriously ill patient aged in his seventies in circumstances suggesting a breach of the Medical Council's ethical guidelines, the president of the High Court has said.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said that and other matters warranted making orders preventing Dr Zsolt Siklosi practising medicine here and suspending his registration on the council's general practitioner specialist register.

Those orders, under Section 60 of the Medical Practitioners Act, apply pending further order.

In the interests of public protection, the judge said his ruling, made following an in camera hearing of the Medical Council's application for the suspension order, should be made public.

A citizen of Hungary and the UK with an address in Co Roscommon, Dr Siklosi was registered on the medical register here in 2011.

He was in court on Tuesday and sought an adjournment of the council's application to allow him get legal representation and opposed the ruling being made public.

Refusing the adjournment, Mr Justice Kelly noted the council gave the doctor notice last week of the intended application.

Having made the order, he allowed Dr Siklosi a month to instruct lawyers and returned the matter to early May.

In his ruling, the judge noted the council decided at a meeting on April 3 to seek the suspension order.

That followed a referral from the council's preliminary proceedings committee (PPC) due to concerns about alleged breach of conditions previously imposed on the doctor's registration, serious allegations he had received monies from a patient and a perceived lack of probity in his dealings with the council.

Dr Siklosi was previously found guilty by a FTP committee in 2016 of professional misconduct and poor professional performance.

The misconduct included failing to disclose he had been arrested on foot of a European Arrest Warrant in June 2013 and that his surrender to Hungary was sought in respect of certain offences, the judge noted.

Those findings led to the High Court making orders in March 2017 censuring him with conditions attached to his registration, including that he not prescribe psychoactive medication.

In an affidavit, council president Dr Rita Doyle said the conditions should have been very clear to Dr Siklosi but it seemed he had breached them "within a matter of days".

She said the complaint that led to the council seeking the suspension was made in November 2017 by a health care practise, GP World Health Care, Bracken Road, Sandyford, Dublin, which said it had recently offered work to Dr Siklosi but after they sought certain documents showing he was allowed practice here, he had "disappeared".

That complaint alleged, before he left the practice, he took money from a named patient and that other elderly sick patients who desperately need help from doctors might be at risk of losing money by giving it to him.

Investigations by the PPP to date have revealed Dr Siklosi has received a total €12,650 by way of "unsolicited interest free loans" on the basis of "friendship" from an elderly sick patient between October-December 2017 when the doctor first treated that patient on a walk-in basis in September 2017, Dr Doyle said.

The €12,650 included sums allegedly provided to help Dr Siklosi set up a new practice and €150 to fix a car clutch.

The judge noted another complaint being investigated was made in June 2017 after a woman who attended Dr Siklosi at the Net Dr Now surgery in Swords alleged he signed a prescription using two different pens in the woman's presence.

It was alleged the name of the "medical practitioner" on the prescription turned out to be a secretary at the clinic and not a GP.

The matter was reported to the council and Dr Siklosi acknowledged the seriousness of the breaches and said he did not understand the importance of the relevant condition on his registration but, on advice, did so now.

That matter was to be subject of an inquiry.

The judge said there is at least prima facie evidence the doctor has been in receipt of a substantial sum from a seriously ill patient in circumstances that would suggest breach of the council's ethical guidelines.

There was also a prima facie case over failure to provide full and frank disclosure including about where Dr Siklosi is working which is "highly suggestive" of a lack of probity in dealings with the council, he added.

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