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Topic History of : IRELAND

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20 Nov 2017 18:07 #35


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My belated account of the Irish Medical Council Fitness to Practise hearing in Dublin on 10 November.

I’ve struggled with this because I wanted to include as much detail as possible, but it's incredibly time consuming and the more time I spend on writing posts means the less time I have to deal with other issues, not least responding to the endless emails I receive every single day from damaged patients.

I am therefore limiting myself to what I consider to be the most salient parts, and as I missed the first two days of the hearing can only recount what I heard in person.

I firstly want to say that I don’t believe Dr Jan Venter should have been before the FtP panel, and when I explain my reasoning you may then appreciate why I consider 'multidisciplinary' a dirty word when applied to Optical Express.

The medicolegal expert for the Irish Medical Council (IMC) was ophthalmologist Dr Patrick Condon, and some of the observations and information he provided in his evidence are of great interest and value, and I intend to publish these in a separate post.

I did however strongly criticise Dr Condon for telling the FtP panel that laser eye surgery was ‘cosmetic’. I pointed out the reasons why it cannot possibly be considered cosmetic, that I have fought for years to avoid this misleading labelling, and that surely he would not describe himself as a cosmetic surgeon. He agreed and said he would remember this in future.

I also had a few amicable and interesting conversations with Mrs Jan Venter throughout the day, and we did agree on some points, be it for very different reasons.

She said that surgeons are unfairly blamed by the company when things go wrong. And whilst I will always argue that if surgeons didn’t work for corrupt businessmen then they wouldn't find themselves having to fight their corner, on this occasion I agreed, because Jan didn’t perform Rebecca Kinsella'’s operations, Evangelos Minos did.

But as Jan was Medical Director at the time (worryingly now David Teenan’s position) the IMC - albeit logically - incorrectly assumed that Jan was the one in charge, noting his title as 'Medical Director and/or Clinical Director’ on the Allegations List.

It is a medically qualified Clinical Director who is normally responsible for a medical facility to run smoothly, ensuring things are done as they should be. Unfortunately, as we all know, due to OE's modus operandi its is Clinical Services Director Stephen Hannan who so wrongly overrules the surgeons.

Before I was banned from the premises I accompanied many damaged patients to their consultations with Jan Venter at Harley Street, usually in the presence of Tweedles McOptom, who answers directly to CEO David Moulsdale, a businessman who answers to no-one! (Read 13 November post for JV’s comment on this)

By calling themselves a multidisciplinary team this is simply an excuse for OE to avoid culpability.

At all stages a multidisciplinary team should be surgeon led, supported by ancillary staff, but as this is not the case at OE, who is to blame when things go wrong?

Unarguably Stephen Hannan and his boss(es), proven by the information I’ve collected over the years, some of which has now been sent to the IMC. Too late for this inquiry, but if there are more in the future it will help them to better understand OE’s lawless set up.

Tweedles is not answerable to the IMC or GMC, while David Mousdale and his cohorts are not answerable to the IMC, GMC or GOC!

Optical Express' multidisciplinary set up therefore is simply an excuse for parties to avoid culpability.

JV worked at Optimax for many years before David Moulsdale poached him from Russell Ambrose (as did Joanna McGraw), so Mrs V knew both both businessmen quite well.

While we waited for the panel to come back with their decision she asked me which of the two men I thought was worst.

Surprised at my answer she said, ‘maybe they’re [both] different kinds of psychopaths'. I told you we agreed on some things!

It was very costly for the IMC to conduct the FtP hearing, with a panel and expensive legal team to pay (happily even more costly for OE who had at least seven people that I counted on their team) hence the reluctance of medical councils to proceed with FtP inquiries.

So when I tell you the panel’s decision you may question whether or not it was worth it.

At approx 3.15pm, after Dr Condon had verbally given his response to the allegations against JV, noted below, the FtP panel retired to make their decision.

NB: PPM should read PM :kiss:

They came back in to ask JV’s counsel if his client was prepared to give an undertaking that he would not repeat his actions.

Agreed. Out they went again…

Shortly before 4pm the panel returned and said they wanted JV to give his undertaking under oath. Counsel Simon Mills argued that this was highly unusual, but quickly agreed.

JV then gave his undertaking not to repeat his actions under oath... the chair said 'that concludes this hearing’... and everyone started packing up!

Incredulously I asked Lorna Lynch, IMC counsel, 'What just happened?’, thinking perhaps I'd missed something.

She replied that JV had given an undertaking not to repeat his actions. (No sh*t Sherlock - I may be visually impaired but I’m not deaf!)
That was it?!’ I asked. Yup!

To be fair, thinking about it on my way back to London, there was little more the panel could have done, because not only did Jan Venter not perform Rebecca's surgery, but as he told a damaged patient (see previous post), the people in Scotland make the decisions.

At least the IMC did investigate this complaint to its full extent, unlike the GMC who continue to dismiss complaint after complaint, allowing the same surgeons to repeatedly damage patients.

And if you're a damaged patient and have not yet made a complaint to the IMC or GMC - very important that you do, whether ultimately dismissed or not!

Because eventually the GMC - the ONLY regulatory body for surgeons - will have to explain their repeated and insupportable decisions to the government!

Meanwhile, it's not over for Rebecca Kinsella, her high court claim is ongoing.
13 Nov 2017 18:05 #34


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I haven't had time today to write up the details of Jan Venter's Fitness to Practise hearing in Dublin last week - too many damaged patients needing advice took priority!

I will do my utmost to publish tomorrow, but in the interim, this excerpt from a transcribed recorded meeting between Jan Venter and an OE damaged patient (currently in litigation) will help you better understand my comments when I do!

PS: Dimitris Kazakos was the surgeon who ruined this patient's eyes :kiss:
12 Nov 2017 14:53 #33


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I will publish details tomorrow :kiss:

10 Nov 2017 14:04 #32


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Surprise for Tweedles (aka Stephen Hannan) when I showed up at the Irish Medical Council this morning!

Jan Venter smiled and said ’Good morning Sasha’ when he saw me this morning, but so far Tweedles and I haven’t had a chance to catch up...

In the FtP hearing as I write this, sitting next to Hazel Jones’ partner - both of us in OERML T shirts!

More later :kiss:
09 Nov 2017 09:56 #31


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Public hearing ongoing today and tomorrow :kiss:

@ Medical council of Ireland, Kingram House, Kingram Pl, Dublin 2

'A 24-year-old woman who suffered problems after laser eye surgery has given evidence against a leading doctor before a Fitness to Practise committee inquiry of the Medical Council.

Rebecca Kinsella was 18 when she had the Lasik eye surgery at an Optical Express clinic on Wellington Road, Dublin on April 2, 2012. The new mother who had a five-month-old son at the time told how she paid around €4,000 for the procedure.

She was giving evidence at a hearing into Dr Jan Venter, of Kabeljous Road, Jeffreys Bay, in South Africa - who did not himself perform the surgery - but held a position with Optical Express in the UK.

He is facing allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance in relation to the treatment afforded by Optical Express to Ms Kinsella, where he was “Medical Director and/or Clinical Director.” A number of the allegations relate to ensuring adequate systems were in place.

Mr Simon Mills BL, who is representing Dr Venter has strenuously denied that his client has any case to answer. He said his client is very highly regarded, and has 44 unblemished years of service.

Ms Kinsella told the inquiry she was offered a free consultation, and that happened in a different branch to the Wellington Road one on March 27th 2012.

The surgery was booked and carried out a few days later on 2 April, 2012 by a surgeon – there is no allegation in relation to the performance of the surgery.

She subsequently attended a number of after-care appointments at the clinic, and two weeks post surgery, she told the inquiry that: "My right eye seemed to deteriorate more.

"I had problems when I was trying to look at the telly. I had to blink a lot. I was very sensitive to the light.

"When I was reading or anything my eyes would water. They kept watering. I noticed when I was driving at night, the lights in the cars in front of me were kind of like doubled. I made another appointment to go back and speak to them again."

Lorna Lynch BL for the Medical Council said it is not disputed that the first date Ms Kinsella saw Dr Venter was 18 June 2012 for clinical review and then again on 20 August 2012, when Dr Venter was also in attendance.

She said evidence will be given to the inquiry by an expert that taking a number of issues into consideration, Ms Kinsella was not a suitable candidate for Lasik eye surgery.

In a statement, Optical Express said: "Optical Express performs thousands of successful procedures every year making it Ireland’s number one laser eye surgery provider. Our patients receive the highest level of care from the world’s most experienced laser eye surgeons... We pride ourselves on being Europe’s leading laser eye surgery provider and delivering professional high-level care to thousands of patients across Europe every year."

The inquiry is continuing
Fiona Dillon

'Mr Simon Mills BL, who is representing Dr Venter has strenuously denied that his client has any case to answer. He said his client is very highly regarded, and has 44 unblemished years of service.'

Tell that to Suzanne Cobley, and to the many others currently suing Venter!

Not forgetting Myra Pridham, left blind for one year after IOL surgery performed by Jan Venter for Optimax.

Six NHS operations successfully restored Myra's sight, while her case was eventually settled out of court, as most are.

And this case in South Africa www.justice.gov.za/sca/judgments%5Csca_2006/2005_043.pdf

'Unblemished years of service' my a**!

A shame the GMC don't pursue these cases in the UK - and any journalists reading this, do contact me for copies of GMC reports concerning patient complaints against Jan Venter.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
30 Apr 2017 12:58 #30


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For residents in Northern Ireland who've had refractive eye surgery at Optical Express, or considered it but changed their mind...

Were you,
• Left with problems after surgery
• Refused aftercare
• Pressured to have surgery and offered a discount if you paid deposit immediately
• Pressured to have surgery but decided not to go ahead
• Refused refund of your deposit after cancelling
• Buying specs/contact lenses and 'persuaded' that surgery was a better option
• Frequently sent emails/texts, or called by OE, trying to get you to attend a 'free' consultation
• Subject to any other negative issues

If you have experienced any of the above, PLEASE contact me ASAP - even if you’ve done so previously!
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. :kiss:

PS: I also need info from OE employees in Ireland, ex or current, incl optoms/sales counsellors/nurses, (& surgeons with a conscience) - confidentiality guaranteed!