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Thursday, November 19

Ministry of Health investigates Southland urologist

The Ministry of Health recommends former patients of Invercargill-based urologist, Sajan Bhatia treated after February 2007 have their care reviewed by their GP.

The Ministry of Health is investigating claims Dr Bhatia practised medicine this year after his practising certificate was not renewed in December 2008.

A current practising certificate is a legal requirement to practise medicine in New Zealand.

The Medical Council did not renew Dr Bhatia’s Annual Practising Certificate in December 2008, as a result of his lack of compliance with his conditions of practise.

These conditions followed findings of misconduct by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and Medical Council findings that Dr Bhatia failed to meet the standard of competence required in his practice.

Dr Bhatia is considered to have continued practising medicine without legal authority after this time.

A number of Dr Bhatia’s former patients have already been reviewed, but privacy restrictions prevent the Ministry from obtaining complete patient lists at this time. To date Dr Bhatia has not provided patient lists in response to requests.

Former patients treated by Dr Bhatia since February 2007 are recommended to have their care reviewed by their GP. Any patients requiring further treatment will be referred on to the appropriate services.

The outcome of both the Ministry of Health and Medical Council’s investigations may result in legal or disciplinary action against Dr Bhatia.

The review of individual patient’s care by GPs will be confidential and will not be shared with the Ministry of Health or the Medical Council.

The Ministry and Medical Council investigations will not provide a clear picture of the impact on patients due to Dr Bhatia’s failure to consistently meet conditions placed on his practice, or from practising without legal authority.

A freephone has been established for any former patients who do not have a GP. The number is 0800 524 524.