Emerald Hospital's Dr John Chibanda.
Emerald Hospital's Dr John Chibanda. CQ News

Medico stood down amid fraud claims

A CENTRAL Queensland doctor has been suspended after claims he fraudulently issued a death certificate for an insurance claim.

Dr John Chibanda, who has worked at Emerald Hospital since November 2007, was stood down on full pay by Queensland Health.

The department said the doctor had been charged with fraud in Zimbabwe and there were concerns about the standard of his clinical care.

Dr Chibanda is under investigation for failing to reveal that he had faced criminal charges in his native Zimbabwe when he applied for work in Australia.

The matter will be investigated by both the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the Health Quality and Complaints Commission which will look at issues relating to Queensland Health's credentialling processes.

"We have met with Queensland Health to clarify issues, ensure risks are averted and safety is not compromised," said the Health Commission's chief executive Cheryl Herbert.

"As the independent health watchdog we will investigate safety and quality issues relating to Dr John Chibanda and examine Queensland Health's credentialling processes," she said.

"As the doctor has been stood down, we are satisfied that any immediate patient safety risk has been addressed," said Ms Herbert.

It emerged yesterday inquiries would also centre on why it took a month for his criminal history to be reported to the top.

Health Minister Paul Lucas said yesterday patient files were being reviewed, but no deaths had occurred. He revealed there had been about 12 complaints about Dr Chibanda's work in Emerald from nurses and patients and that the doctor was stood down from obstetrics in August 2008, but continued to work in emergency and other areas of the hospital.

Mr Lucas said: "I am concerned about the level of disclosure made to the board by the doctor himself and also Queensland Health permitting him to practice outside of the conditions placed on him by the Medical Board."

He said if the wrong thing had been done there would be "no forgiveness, no mercy and very, very strong action".

Anyone who has concerns about the treatment they may have received from Dr Chibanda should call 13HEALTH.

The medical records of hundreds of patients treated by Dr Chibanda will be reviewed and Queensland Health will contact individual patients if concerns are raised.

Central Queensland Health Service District has measures in place to ensure the provision of medical services in Emerald is not affected by the suspension.

Dr Chibanda is the second doctor to be stood down from Emerald Hospital. In September a doctor was suspended pending an investigation by Queensland Health.

As the doctor has been stood down, we are satisfied that any immediate patient safety risk has been addressed



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