The Medical Council of Ireland has defended its complaints procedure following concerns that some doctors have been able to move between hospitals even after concerns were raised about them.
A HSE review, conducted in the aftermath of the Dr Omar Hassan case in January, revealed a number of systematic shortcomings in regard to recruitment processes within the health service.
Dr Hassan worked at three separate HSE hospitals between late 2012 and early 2014, even though his lack of knowledge and skills alarmed colleagues at all three.
On January 26, Dr Hassan was found guilty of professional misconduct and poor professional performance on multiple grounds.
The medical council then requested his registration remain suspended. Dr Hassan is appealing this, and is due to appear before the High Court in October.
“Issues identified by that review include the lack of centralised recruitment processes for doctors in service posts, the absence of single HR systems across HSE hospitals and either within or across Hospital Groups,” the HSE stated.
Another issue included a lack of measures in place to assess a doctor’s competency to practise medicine prior to the decision of the Medical Council to grant the doctor registration in Ireland.
“A key issue is how hospitals ascertain where a doctor has worked before — within Ireland or outside Ireland — if the doctor does not declare that employment,” the HSE said.
On average, the length of time from when a complaint is made to when the corresponding disciplinary inquiry takes place is six to 12 months, according to the medical council. However, it can often take longer.
The hearing into Dr Dawar Siddiqi took place in November and December 2015, although the complaints concerned his time at Bantry General Hospital, where he worked as a locum consultant radiologist between May and September 2013.
“The role of the regulator is to act in the public interest, and they must ensure that procedures followed are fair and reasonable to all parties concerned,” said a spokeswoman for the medical council.
The HSE said the rolling out of its new recruitment policy would address the issues raised.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved