Ensure doctors are qualified to highest standard, HSE told

Dr Hassan: Claimed he did not harm anybody.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has told the HSE to make sure “all steps possible” are taken to ensure doctors and other staff who are taken on are qualified to the required standard.

According to the Department of Health, Mr Varadkar said the HSE should ensure all recruitment procedures, including verification of references, are completed prior to anyone taking up a post, and that staff performance evaluations are undertaken on a regular basis.

“It cannot be left solely to professional regulators like the Medical Council to ensure that doctors are fit to practice,” Mr Varadkar said. “Employers like the HSE, voluntary hospitals and private sector operators also have responsibilities.”

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar

The move comes as a doctor found guilty of 28 count of poor professional performance and six counts of professional misconduct at the Medical Council, has claimed he did not harm anybody and that most of the allegations against him were “not correct”.

Dr Omar Hassan Khalafalla Mohamed, whose medical registration has already been suspended, said he had been “treated unfairly and very badly through this case by people who made these unfair allegations”.

The 11-day fitness to practice inquiry heard evidence about incidents which occurred while Dr Hassan worked in the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Mayo General Hospital, and University Hospital Galway.

There was a claim he mistook an X-ray of an ankle for an image of an elbow and that he re-contaminated his hands by touching a non-sterile area while scrubbing up in preparation for theatre.

These allegations were put to him in an interview on RTÉ’s Liveline programme.

On his medical credentials, Dr Hassan said his university in Sudan only took the best 200 students in Sudan’s equivalent of the Leaving Cert, an exam taken by half a million candidates.

He said he passed the exams and got a distinction in the first year.

He completed the Irish medical council exam, describing it an a “lengthy and demanding process” but saying he passed “with flying marks”.”

In relation to the alleged confusion of an X-ray, he said: “There was teaching meeting in which we discussed 10 to 15 patients and X-rays, so there will be a lot of X-rays around and sometimes misunderstandings may occur.”

Put to him that he would likely never work in Ireland again as a doctor, he said: “That may be the case but it is still unfair. There are no logical reasons for that based on the allegations mentioned.

“I did not cause any harmful consequences to a patient, I did not cause any death or misery to any patient or family.”


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