Complaint doctor in Mt Isa

A FORMER Bundaberg doctor who had almost 30 complaints against him in a 10-year period at Bundaberg Hospital is now working at Mt Isa Hospital, despite claims he was no longer working for Queensland Health.

State Health Minister Geoff Wilson made the assertion in parliament that Hewawelengodage Wimalasiri Wijeratne was no longer a Queensland Health employee, in response to a question by Member for Burnett Rob Messenger.

The NewsMail understands Dr Wijeratne, an obstetrician, resigned from Bundaberg Hospital last month and now works for an agency as a locum doctor, including at Queensland Health hospitals.

“(Hospital bureaucrats) are desperately trying to protect the minister from the charge that he was lying in parliament,” Mr Messenger said.

The MP has called for an independent judicial and clinical investigation into the complaints made about Dr Wijeratne.

Mr Messenger had repeatedly asked since April 2010 for a tally of how many complaints were made against the doctor, but he did not receive a proper reply until June this year.

“Records indicate 27 complaints were recorded between January 2001 until July 2010,” Mr Wilson told parliament.

“These relate to 20 occasions regarding communication issues where action was taken, and seven unsubstantiated allegations regarding treatment.”

Channel Nine's A Current Affair aired an episode on Thursday featuring some women who had made complaints about Dr Wijeratne, but the NewsMail understands one of these women was not treated by him.

Mr Messenger said her medical records list the emergency doctor as her treating doctor, with Dr Wijeratne as consulting obstetrician.

Wide Bay Health Service District CEO Ken Whelan said the hospital always supported a patient's right to complain.

“Many of the claims that have been raised have been investigated internally and by the independent health quality watchdog. Some cases have also been reviewed by the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the independent Ombudsman, with no case to answer,” he said.

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