Disgraced doctor's criminal past revealed

By Alex Easton

FORMER Lismore obstetrician Roman Hasil spent time in a Singapore jail for a criminal offence before he moved to Australia to work, a New Zealand inquiry says.

The report, from NZ Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson, also reveals the North Coast Area Health Service investigated Dr Hasil in 2005 for allegedly 'fiddling the books' to claim money he was not entitled to.

The report, released yesterday, offers no details on the charges Dr Hasil faced in Singapore, or how long he spent in prison, but did say Dr Hasil failed to tell authorities about the jail time when he applied for medical registration in Tasmania in 1997.

A spokesman for the North Coast Area Health Service said Dr Hasil also did not mention the conviction when applyx ing for his job at Lismore Base Hospital or during his four years there.

In the report, Mr Paterson says Dr Hasil denied trying to mislead the Tasmanian Medical Council about his criminal record, saying he was asked only if he had convictions in Tasmania or else-%where in Australia.

However, Mr Paterson notes doctors applying for registration in Tasmania are asked to declare: "I have never been charged with a criminal offence, nor are there any criminal charges pending against me."

"Due to the outstanding matters regarding his false declarations, and his continued denial of them, despite documentary evidence to the contrary, Dr Hasil is not considered to be in good standing in Tasmania," Mr Paterson says.

Dr Hasil was also banned from practising in South Australia because of the false declaration.

Mr Paterson says in the report: "Dr Hasil made a rather hasty exit from Lismore Base Hospital while he was under investigation for allegedly 'fiddling the books'."

Dr Hasil was accused of claiming money for 'call backs' when a doctor is called by a hospital staff member for advice which he had not done.

Dr Hasil 'disputes' the allegation, but a North Coast Area Health Service spokesman said the service 'took appropriate disciplinary action' over the issue.

Mr Paterson says one of Dr Hasil's New Zealand colleagues recalled the Czech-born doctor saying he 'felt he was being abused in Australia in that he was doing all the work, particularly obstetrics, and the consultants were claiming all the money'.

However, the report also says Dr Hasil presented two former colleagues from Lismore as referees when he applied to work at New Zealand's Wanganui hospital, where he botched a series of sterilisation procedures and was suspended for drinking.

Lismore paediatrician Chris Ingall said he was one of those 'referees', but the reference wasn't something that would give comfort to a potential employer.

Dr Ingall said he was called out of the blue about Dr Hasil about three years ago and that he told the caller to be 'very careful' about employing him.

"I said to them, 'look, there have been concerns here'. I said 'he can be a bit roughin how he got babies out'," Dr Ingall said.

Dr Ingall could not recall any email exchange about Dr Hasil, but was surprised they would have called him over obstetricians.

One obstetrician was called, but Dr Hasil's supervising obstetrician, Brendan O'Sullivan, said he was never contacted.

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