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Qld hit by another foreign-trained doctor sca -

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ELEANOR HALL: Queensland's Health Department has been hit by yet another scandal over the
performance of a foreign-trained doctor. The state is still reeling from the Bundaberg Hospital
crisis.

Now there are revelations that an Egyptian-trained surgeon who was working at the Mackay Base
Hospital was operating beyond his capabilities.

The Health Department now has to review 1,000 operations that were performed by the surgeon. And
the Health Quality and Complaints Commission has recommended a national reporting scheme that would
require doctors to report on colleagues whom they suspect of being underqualified.

In Brisbane, Donna Field reports.

DONNA FIELD: Doctor Abdalla Khalafalla worked at Mackay Hospital from 2004 to 2006. After the then
federal member De-Anne Kelly raised concerns in Federal Parliament about his performance the
Queensland Health minister ordered an investigation.

The doctor engaged to review Dr Khalafalla's cases, Dr Hack, expressed particular concern about six
cases and said he had a sense of unease about the cases he'd reviewed. Dr Hack reported that the
cases implied a potentially dangerous technique and in particular a failure to take the time to
check for bleeding before finishing the surgery. In two of those cases Dr Hack said the patients
could have easily died had corrective surgery not been performed.

TONY MORRIS: Absolutely terrifying it's like reliving a bad nightmare. You read the HQCC report and
its almost a complete replication of what happened in Bundaberg.

DONNA FIELD: Tony Morris QC ran the commission of inquiry into Bundaberg Hospital in the wake of
allegations against Dr Jayant Patel who is now facing charges including manslaughter.

Mr Morris was disqualified as commissioner after a Supreme Court ruling that he was ostensibly
biased against two witnesses. He says the findings of this latest report highlight that nothing
would have happened if whistleblowers hadn't gone to a Federal MP.

TONY MORRIS: Look what this report tells us. September 2005 issues are raised about this doctor's
competence. They get a report from a senior surgeon. Quite a damning report. Absolutely nothing is
done for another 12 months until the whistleblowers go to a member of the Federal Parliament.

DONNA FIELD: The Health Quality and Complaints Commission formed in the wake of the Bundaberg
crisis conducted this latest inquiry. Queensland Health Minister Stephen Robertson says it's unfair
to say that nothing has changed.

STEPHEN ROBERTSON: I think it's actually damaging to continue to prosecute the line that nothing
has changed in Queensland health. What I emphasised in our interview this morning was that these
were matters that occurred between 2004 and 2006. Since the Bundaberg commission of inquiry
substantial changes to Queensland health particularly how we offer support to whistleblowers.

DONNA FIELD: Mr Robertson backs the report's recommendation imposing a legal requirement for health
professionals to report their colleagues when they feel there's a problem.

STEPHEN ROBERTSON: What occurred in Mackay was a doctor not being properly supervised. Not being
properly supervised by whom, not a bureaucrat, by a senior doctor. And who was that senior doctor
reporting to? Another senior doctor.

DONNA FIELD: Tony Morris says doctors want to do the right thing, but whenever someone has become a
whistleblower they've been targeted. He says it's the bureaucrats who should be accountable.

TONY MORRIS: Stephen Robertson accuses me and others of bureaucrat bashing. His solution to this
problem is doctor bashing. He wants to bring in a change to the criminal law to make it a criminal
offence for doctor's not to report their colleagues. What about doing something to make it a
criminal offence for bureaucrats to sit for 12 months doing nothing, or nothing effective to solve
these problems.

DONNA FIELD: Doctor Khalafalla was deregistered in Queensland in 2006. He's believed to be living
in Victoria, and can seek registration to work in another state. But Minister Robertson says he's
forwarded the Commission's report to his state counterparts and will be keeping them abreast of the
audit into Dr Khalafalla's operations.

ELEANOR HALL: Donna Field reporting.