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Is the Medical Council fit for purpose?


Cynicist

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Jan 14, 2013
A Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry has found a doctor guilty on three counts of professional misconduct. A decision on sanction will be made at a later date.
The inquiry heard that Dr Chidozie Emmanuel Onovo, 43, originally from Nigeria and with an address (and family) in Bantry, Co Cork, failed to disclose that he had been convicted in Britain of drug smuggling in 1998.
Solicitor JP McDowell for the Medical Council's chief executive told the inquiry that Dr Onovo worked in a number of Irish hospitals between July 2004 and 2008.
The inquiry heard that Dr Onovo received a two-year custodial sentence in Britain in September 1998 for attempting to smuggle in 4.5kg of cannabis.
He applied for temporary registration with the Irish Medical Council in 2003. In the application he stated he had never been convicted of an offence.
The inquiry also heard that his CV stated he was working as a doctor in Nigeria when he was in fact imprisoned in Britain.
He applied for and was granted full registration in Ireland in 2008 and again did not disclose his conviction.
In September 2010, Dr Onovo was sentenced to 16 months in New Zealand on immigration fraud charges.
While working there in Christchurch he applied for a work permit and his previous conviction was uncovered.

Doctor who hid conviction guilty of misconduct - RTÉ News

Why the Medical Council has taken 2 years 4 months to set up this inquiry is a mystery. The Medical Council permitted this fraudster to practice here in sensitive positions without properly checking him out and accepted his professional qualifications which the New Zealand court found highly doubtful.

We have to ask if the Medical Council is up to task and how many more doubtfully qualified “professionals” are working in our health system.

Web summary of Onovo’s history: Business Profiles and Company Information | ZoomInfo.com
 

Sync

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Because he was in prison in New Zealand and so would represent the lowest of low risks and as such would be pushed to the bottom in favour of any other investigation into someone currently practising?

How would you suggest the IMC identifies someone registered and trained in Country A who applies to work in Ireland but has broken the law in country C? He's successfully lied in New Zealand as well.
 

Spanner Island

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I love the insertion of "(and family)" as if it's relevant...

It taints the rest of your OP wonderfully and raises suspicions as to the real motivation of your post...

Is the IMC fit for purpose?

Probably not... but then would anyone be surprised if this is the case?

Much of the 'state' and the connected quangos aren't fit for any purpose, and yet they persist....
 

Cynicist

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Because he was in prison in New Zealand and so would represent the lowest of low risks and as such would be pushed to the bottom in favour of any other investigation into someone currently practising?

How would you suggest the IMC identifies someone registered and trained in Country A who applies to work in Ireland but has broken the law in country C? He's successfully lied in New Zealand as well.
If IMC is unable to carry out verification checks then clearly it can not accept such a person to practice here in Ireland. Why should it not raise concerns that foreign doctors are not properly checked? There is no point at all in having a registration process if that process is inadequate.

There is a cultural barrier to overcome by practitioners from foreign countries and it is beholden on the IMC to ensure that people can have confidence in the qualification and references check if that barrier is not to be raised further.
 

Cynicist

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I love the insertion of "(and family)" as if it's relevant...

It taints the rest of your OP wonderfully and raises suspicions as to the real motivation of your post...

Is the IMC fit for purpose?

Probably not... but then would anyone be surprised if this is the case?

Much of the 'state' and the connected quangos aren't fit for any purpose, and yet they persist....
I added the family information because I thought it necessary to indicate that the good doctor had not just passed through but had a base in Ireland. What suspicion are you attaching - would be good to know so I can more properly address your innuendo.

So you are so dismissive of the role of the IMC in protecting the health service from impersonations and bogus medics - still maybe you are somewhat conditioned to an Ireland with low standards!
 

Hitch 22

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Shouldn't the IMC employ private investigators to check up on the backgrounds of doctors who wish to be employed in Ireland? Doctors playing amateur sleuth might work in Diagnosis Murder but not in real life.

 

Cynicist

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Shouldn't the IMC employ private investigators to check up on the backgrounds of doctors who wish to be employed in Ireland? Doctors playing amateur sleuth might work in Diagnosis Murder but not in real life.

There are established modus operandi for verification between health authorities, universities and employers which does not require Inspector Morse or any other imaginings you may employ. Whats the relevance of the picture?
 

frequency

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You are failing to recognise that the Irish Medical Council is run by a majority of non-doctors (unlike everywhere else in the developed world that has medical councils).

Perhaps the hatred and hostility towards doctors has run it's course?
 

Cynicist

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You are failing to recognise that the Irish Medical Council is run by a majority of non-doctors (unlike everywhere else in the developed world that has medical councils).

Perhaps the hatred and hostility towards doctors has run it's course?
Please explain how I have demonstrated any hatred or hostility towards doctors. Its a put up or shut up time!
 

Spanner Island

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I added the family information because I thought it necessary to indicate that the good doctor had not just passed through but had a base in Ireland. What suspicion are you attaching - would be good to know so I can more properly address your innuendo.
There are plenty of posters on here who have an anti-immigrant agenda and who slide it into virtually every post they make. Immigrants are the cause of all our ills in their deluded heads...

I suspected you may be one of them... and perhaps you are?

I still don't get why whether or not he's got family here is in any way relevant to IMC screening processes...

So you are so dismissive of the role of the IMC in protecting the health service from impersonations and bogus medics - still maybe you are somewhat conditioned to an Ireland with low standards!
Anyone who has lived here for any length of time and who pays attention to what goes on should be somewhat conditioned in this way...
 

Cynicist

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There are plenty of posters on here who have an anti-immigrant agenda and who slide it into virtually every post they make. Immigrants are the cause of all our ills in their deluded heads...

I suspected you may be one of them... and perhaps you are?

I still don't get why whether or not he's got family here is in any way relevant to IMC screening processes...



Anyone who has lived here for any length of time and who pays attention to what goes on should be somewhat conditioned in this way...
You could very easily have ascertained that I do not have an anti-immigrant agenda from my posts and by simply assuming I am suggests you are lacking balance in your opinions.
I do not understand why you seek out one obscure point to try to undermine. The fact that the doctor has / had family in Ireland was readily available from press coverage so why I should not include it as relevant is beyond any normal understanding - do you have an issue with doctors with families?

If you feel conditioned to accept anything and everything as normal irrespective of how outlandish then why bother?
 

Merovingian

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There is a real issue here. The IMC do not perform direct verification of professional qualifications. They will accept a 'notarised' copy of your medical degree. They do not verify directly with the Medical School that your qualifications are correct. The 'notarised' copy suffices. This is wide open to abuse. When such direct verifications law have been introduced elsewhere many foreign 'medical graduates' have been discovered to be fraudulently posing as doctors. I've brought this up with them to no avail. Maybe they think that their general rudeness to foreign applicants will act as a sufficient deterrent to fake applicants....
 

Davidoff

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The bottom line here is that if the vetting of foreign doctors can't even pick up serious criminal convictions then the vetting procedures are worthless.

And what about skills, qualifications and experience? If someone can lie about a prison sentence and get away with it, how thoroughly is anything else being checked?

I've made the point on other threads: We've learned not to place too much trust in accountants and solicitors and other professionals. But doctors are still up there on their pedestal. The regulation of the entire sector badly needs to be revisited.
 

Sister Mercedes

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Because he was in prison in New Zealand and so would represent the lowest of low risks and as such would be pushed to the bottom in favour of any other investigation into someone currently practising?

How would you suggest the IMC identifies someone registered and trained in Country A who applies to work in Ireland but has broken the law in country C? He's successfully lied in New Zealand as well.
You don't really go in for prosecution of white-collar crime, do you? Doling out Infractions on here is more your thing.
 

damus

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There was a debate a while back that was highlighted in the BMJ about the anomalies in Directive 2005/35/EC on the mutual recognition of qualifications across the EU. The general consensus was that while the Directive obliges member states to automatically recognise the qualifications of doctors that are obtained from elsewhere in the EEA, the Directive in itself doesn't provide any assurances as to their competency or fitness to practice. The other point was that the current system for member states to alert other regulatory authorities about suspensions, conditions, warnings and erasures was not adequate and needed to be improved. It was basically suggested that the Directive possibly needs to incorporate an international system of ensuring competence, along with the mutual recognition of each countries professional registers and the greater sharing of information between the different regulatory bodies.

BMJ Careers - Struck off doctors should be barred in all EU countries

http://careers.bmj.com/careers/advice/view-article.html?id=20002402
 
Last edited:

redhead

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As someone who has suffered as a result of medical incompetence, IMO no, the IMC is not for for purpose.
 

Cynicist

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You don't really go in for prosecution of white-collar crime, do you? Doling out Infractions on here is more your thing.
Everyone is aware of anti-immigrants, racists, sexual abuse apologisers, misogynists etc but bout time we added those "status quo" defenders who quickly appear when their cages are rattled.
Davidoff is correct when he makes the point that the IMC are responsible for registration which is currently meaningless because of their negligence in ensuring a strict system of verification. Anyone who has ever had a document verified by the local Gárda Siochána will know how little effort is applied to certification.

The only way the citizen can check out a doctor is through the IMC website where registration can be checked. Now we know for sure that registration guarantees nothing. Perhaps the IMC think that to register a psychiatrist is not so very important and will no doubt absolve themselves of any blame in this case.

Am still waiting to hear from the "status quo" defenders how I have demonstrated hatred for doctors or what led them to believe that I know nothing about the IMC. Sync has still to explain why he accused someone of being my sock puppet because of sharing the same IP.
 

Druidess

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It highlights the dangers of taking at face value documents and qualifications originating in countries where regulation is nill, corruption is rife and false documents are easily obtainable.

The reason I say this is because this person claiming to be a qualified psychiatrist also claimed to have been working in a hospital in Nigeria during the same period that he is now known to have been incarcerated in the UK. No doubt he produced documents to back this lie up.
 

Druidess

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See the link: Doctor had cannabis conviction - The Irish Times - Mon, Jan 14, 2013

"On his CV he stated he had worked as a psychiatrist in the National Specialist Hospital, Enugu State, Nigeria, between December 1997 and June 1999, and at Park Lane General Hospital, Enugu State, from July 1999 to August 2002...He had in fact been in prison in England or under the supervision of the British authorities during this period"
 

Druidess

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I find it strange that for having the temerity to highlight this case which happens to revolve around a Nigerian, the OP is accused of having an anti-immigrant agenda.
 
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