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Old 08-27-2005, 04:53 AM
TheDoctor TheDoctor is offline
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Doctor carried a loaded gun


A FORMER Townsville psychiatrist was suspended and investigated by police for taking a loaded gun to work.

The circumstances surrounding Ben Vorster is another example of an overseas-trained doctor tarnishing the northern zone's mental health unit.

Dr Vorster, who was believed to have returned to South Africa in 2002, was a colleague and supporter of fake psychiatrist and alleged pedophile Vincent Berg.

They both were denied re-registration about the same time, with hospital officials refusing to continue Dr Vorster's contract because they were concerned with his performance and "poor judgment".

Sources who leaked information to The Courier-Mail yesterday said employees were fearful of Dr Vorster.

Townsville Hospital's medical services director, Andrew Johnson, denied yesterday he and another senior administrator feared for their lives.

But he said a staff member expressed concern after seeing Dr Vorster with a gun in his bag.

Dr Johnson said the matter was referred to police and Dr Vorster was stood down while the investigation was carried out.

He said the South African-trained doctor, who was employed as a junior psychiatrist in 2000 under an area-of-need position, had the required licences for a number of guns.

He said it was Dr Vorster's performance rather than the weapon that pushed him out of Queensland Health.

The information about Dr Vorster's work history had been referred to Commission of Inquiry head Tony Morris, Dr Johnson said.

Townsville Hospital's integrated mental health service director, John Allen, told the commission three weeks ago that Dr Vorster had provided a reference in support of Berg, whose qualifications were called into question.

"I was aware that Dr (Brian) Boettcher and Dr Vorster, who were two psychiatrists in our services, were supporting Dr Berg and felt that my assessments of him was incorrect," Dr Allen said in his evidence.

"I can only say that I thought they were wrong."

Dr Allen said he subsequently "had problems with Dr Vorster's work and he also left and Dr Boettcher resigned not long after that".

Mr Morris has not voiced concerns about Dr Vorster but has criticised Queensland Health for not informing the public about Berg, who is now at the centre of a police investigation.

Police believe Berg has fled to Israel, and a Townsville mother has since alleged her teenager son was molested by him during a private counselling session when he convinced her and the rest of the family to leave the house.

The Courier-Mail reported on Saturday that the Australian Federal Police alerted Queensland police about Berg's movements as he was fleeing.

But they were unable to arrest him because no official complaint had been made.

A complaint about his health qualifications has since been made and police are now relying on Interpol to track him down.

He is the second former Queensland Health employee to flee the country after their qualifications were questioned.

Source:- Courier Mail

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