Graduate at maternity hospital ‘was never taught how to examine pregnant women’

Colleagues witnessed man making ‘wild’ clinical assessments, High Court is told

Mr Justice Peter Kelly: concern over ‘defective’ recruitment procedures for doctors to work in Irish hospitals

Mr Justice Peter Kelly: concern over ‘defective’ recruitment procedures for doctors to work in Irish hospitals

 

A medical graduate from eastern Europe was employed by an Irish maternity hospital despite never being taught how to examine a pregnant woman, the High Court has heard.

The doctor had never worked in any paid capacity in any hospital anywhere, the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, said.

Concerns were raised about his abilities within days and two consultants said he did not meet the “most basic” standards of competence of doctors practising “at this very junior level”.

Junior colleagues in the hospital said they witnessed him making “wild” clinical assessments without taking any history or examining a patient.

Mr Justice Kelly has suspended the doctor to protect the public on foot of an application from the Medical Council. The order applies pending a fitness-to-practise inquiry into complaints about his work.

He also directed that the Minister for Health and the HSE be told of his concern that “defective” recruitment procedures for doctors to work in Irish hospitals represent a danger to patients.

The Department of Health and the HSE were unable to provide a response to the issues raised by the judge last night.

Not ‘isolated’

Four out of 10 doctors in Ireland come from overseas and their numbers are increasing as emigration among Irish-trained doctors rises. Complaints about overseas doctors are also on the rise, amid concerns about the qualifications and competence of some recruits.

The judge said the doctor was recruited despite never being registered to practise medicine in the country where he received his medical degree or in his native country.

The doctor said he applied for every senior house office job on the HSE website but kept getting replies saying he lacked experience. He was ultimately shortlisted for interview and began employment in the hospital this year.

The two consultants raised concerns within days about his basic competencies including history taking, taking blood tests, insertion of IV cannulas, how to prescribe drugs and knowledge of drugs.