Surgeon with murky past accused of lying for job

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A DUTCH surgeon accused of lying to cover up his murky medical past to secure jobs in Scotland told a hearing yesterday that he does not want to work ever again.

Dr Robert Heintjes was accused of a series of blunders in the Netherlands between 2002 and 2007 and then struck off by the Dutch medical watchdog without a full hearing ever being held.

The vascular surgeon, who specialises in vein and artery operations, came to Scotland in 2007 where he got jobs in Aberdeen and Ayr.

Dr Heintjes is now facing a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing in Manchester where he is accused of lying in the course of job applications and “incorrectly operating” on a patient in 2010.

The panel heard that Dr Heintjes applied to the General Medical Council (GMC) for voluntary erasure, but the application was refused. He now intends to make another application, to be considered by the panel, to have his name removed from the medical register.

Representing himself at the hearing, he said: “My mind has been made up about me practising as a doctor and I do not want to practise as a doctor. I feel that if it would save everybody’s time – I’m not going to work as a doctor anymore so I will apply for voluntary erasure.”

Although voluntary erasure can be accepted to protect the public or if the doctor is unlikely to practise again for health reasons, the panel may feel it is in the public interest to conduct a full inquiry.

The GMC alleges the medic denied having any outstanding concerns in an interview for a locum post at NHS Grampian in September 2007.

He is also said to have signed a statement to the effect that he was not subject to proceedings by a regulatory body in the UK or abroad when taking up a consultant post at NHS Ayrshire and Arran in March 2008.

It is alleged that he knew this was untrue and that his conduct was “dishonest and misleading”.

The GMC also alleges that Dr Heintjes made a series of errors when conducting a vein operation on a patient in March 2010.

He is accused of failing to ensure the patient was correctly listed and not carrying out a proper re-examination. The GMC says he also made a number of blunders in relation to the patient’s notes.

Dr Heintjes was accused of 14 “severe” medical blunders in Holland over five years. Two patients died and another had a leg amputated after his alleged blunders, although it was not claimed the outcomes stemmed directly from his conduct.

Dutch radio reported colleagues described the doctor as “like a cowboy from the wild west” and said he fired staples into patients’ legs to check if they were fully sedated.