Dr Hasil could happen again
CASINO woman Connie Scholl wants to know the trauma she suffered giving birth to her son six years ago will never be suffered by another woman.
That is why she is shocked by the NSW Government's decision to vote against a bill making it compulsory for employers to check the background of doctors before allowing them to work in public hospitals.
Mrs Scholl is among the women who have lodged complaints with the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission about Dr Roman Hasil, who worked as an obstetrics registrar at Lismore Base Hospital from 2002 to 2005.
“I would like to know why the Government would vote that bill down,” Mrs Scholl said.
“I wonder what they would do if it were their wives or relatives.”
Lismore MP Thomas George said the Government voted against the bill simply because it had been put forward by the Opposition.
“We were showing the initiative that has to be taken in NSW for the protection of the public and the 99.9 per cent of doctors who are doing the right thing,” Mr George said.
However, NSW Health Minister John Della Bosca said the Government voted against the bill because it would 'water down' current Health Department employment protocols.
“We believe there were gaps in the Opposition's draft legislation you could drive a bus through. We believe the legislation as drafted would have been a weak- ening of the current position,” he said.
“The Opposition's private member's bill was out of touch with current practice and was not supported by recommendations already made by the Special Commission of Inquiry into Acute Care in NSW Public Hospitals.
“In June this year, the Government passed the Medical Practice Amendment Act 2008 - the strongest legislation in Australia to protect patients against misconduct by doctors.
“The Opposition's call to legislate that narrow background checks be undertaken by chief executives before appointing doctors failed to recognise that broader policies were already in place and that all staff are required to comply or face disciplinary action,” he said.
Mr Della Bosca said the Opposition bill would have watered down mandatory checks introduced as policy by NSW Health in 2005 for doctors seeking employment at public hospitals.
However Opposition Health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner said the Government's safeguards did not go far enough.
“Former Health Minister Reba Meagher introduced laws making it a legal requirement for doctors to report other medical practitioners they are concerned about to the NSW Medical Board, but she's let employers off the hook by not legally requiring them to contact the board to find out if a doctor is deregistered or limited in what he/she can do,” Ms Skinner said.
However, the Opposition has accused the Government of playing politics on the issue.
Mrs Scholl said she would be throwing her energies behind Mr George's push to ensure background checks on doctors applying to work in NSW were a legal requirement.
“The experience of Dr Hasil should be a warning to the Government,” she said.
Mrs Scholl claims she was humiliated by Dr Hasil when she was in labour at Lismore Base.
Other women have lodged complaints with NSW Health Care Complaints Commission alleging Dr Hasil was drunk on the job, that he botched a procedure to stitch a woman after birth, and that his delivery style was rough.
An official inquiry into the doctor says he lied about a domestic violence conviction when applying for medical registration in Australia.