12 March 2014

Practitioner Vetting

Prosecution of Canberra general practitioner Ammar Dhaimat raises questions about identity, vetting and professional regulation.

The ABC reports that Dhaimat has been convicted on two counts of an act of indecency -
Dhaimat was sentenced to six months in jail, but it was immediately suspended on the grounds he enter into a good behaviour order for two years.
It is understood Interpol and the United Kingdom Medical Board are continuing to investigate Dhaimat over separate matters which occurred during his time in the UK. 
He has also been under investigation by the Australian Federal Police fraud squad, the Australian Medical Council, the Department of Immigration and the Federal Court for forging official documents. 
Police said that during searches of Dhaimat's house they discovered numerous official documents with false details, including those on a form which allowed him to work as a doctor in Australia. 
Dhaimat is currently suspended from practicing medicine in Australia.
Disturbingly, Dhaimat still appears on the ACT Health Department's 'Find A GP' sites.

Last year the ABC reported that the ACT Magistrates court
heard Dr Dhaimat is wanted by Interpol in relation to a similar charge in the UK, after fleeing the country while on bail. 
It prompted ACT magistrate Beth Campbell to ask how someone could be registered to practice medicine in the ACT while having outstanding offences overseas. 
The body responsible for registration the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency says all doctors including Dr Dhaimat must sign an annual declaration that they do not have pending criminal proceedings in relation to sex offences. 
The Agency says when Dr Dhaimat was registered to practice in the ACT in May 2008 he would have required a certificate of good standing from overseas medical authorities and a clearance from the Australian Federal Police (AFP). 
Previously the lawyer for Dr Dhaimat has told the magistrates court he has only practiced medicine in Jordan and Australia. 
The AFP received paperwork relating to an extradition request from Interpol on April 13, 2013.
In January 2014 the Sydney Morning Herald stated that Dhaimat
is also facing charges in the ACT Magistrates Court for allegedly possessing varying quantities of six different types of anabolic steroids. 
He was granted on bail in May under strict conditions, that he provide a $20,000 surety, surrender his passports, report to Woden police each day and abide by a curfew. … 
His friend, Sammy Hajj, said Dr Dhaimat wanted three variations to his current bail conditions, including the release of $10,000 held by the court and reduced curfew. 
But the prosecution opposed the application because the required paperwork had not been correctly filed. … 
During the discussion, Mr Hajj, who acted as surety for the doctor, revealed Dr Dhaimat had gone broke since being suspended from practicing medicine. 
The court heard the doctor had previously earned between $12,000 to $15,000 a week, and owned three properties. 
But he had been unable to meet bank repayments while suspended and the homes had been repossessed.