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Doctor late for work was 'always praying'

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University Hospital Limerick

University Hospital Limerick

University Hospital Limerick

A doctor subject to a Medical Council inquiry was "always going to prayer" and "used his religion not to behave properly", according to a colleague.

The comments were contained in internal HSE correspondence and attributed to Dr Ibrahim Khir about his fellow Muslim doctor Saqib Ahmed, who faces eight allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance.

In the letter, which was read out during a fitness-to-practise inquiry yesterday, Dr Khir was quoted as telling a consultant in the oncology ward that he felt Dr Ahmed was betraying his faith.

"My impression is that Dr Ahmed sometimes used his religion not to behave properly," Dr Khir was quoted as telling consultant oncologist Dr Linda Coate, who was the author of the letter.

Dr Khir gave evidence about the letter to the inquiry and, under cross-examination from Dr Ahmed, he said prayer should not be a reason for being late for work. Dr Ahmed asked Dr Khir if prayer could be a reason for being late for work in Ireland, to which Dr Khir replied that prayer could be timed around work. The inquiry has already heard that Pakistani-born Dr Ahmed was described in internal HSE correspondence as being "radicalised" and had spoken in the hospital of his support for al-Qa'ida.

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Dr Ahmed worked as a registrar in the oncology clinic of University Hospital Limerick from July to November 2012, when he was placed on administrative leave.

He faces eight allegations of professional misconduct and/or poor professional practice, which include claims that he used his thumbnail to mark a patient's skin for surgery; that he left the clinic without permission; that he failed to order chemotherapy treatment for a patient despite being reminded and requested to by the chief oncology pharmacist and another pharmacist; and that he obtained study leave to attend a course in the UK but did not attend and failed to turn up for work.

He also faces allegations that he responded in an aggressive and angry manner to at least three of his senior colleagues when they sought to discuss his treatment of a patient upon whom Dr Ahmed allegedly failed to carry out basic medical tests and examinations.

Dr Ahmed denies all of the allegations and is representing himself by telephone from the US where he now works.

Irish Independent