A Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry has begun into a former president of the Medical Council, Dr Colm Quigley.

The inquiry is to assess allegations of poor professional performance against the consultant physician, who is also a former president of the Irish Hospital Consultants' Association.

The nine allegations relate to the care of Patient X, a male patient at Wexford General Hospital and Ely Private Hospital, who was referred to him in July 2009 because of low sodium levels.

Patient X died in April 2011 after an amputation of the lower left leg and inoperable lung cancer.

The inquiry heard that a follow-up letter was sent by Dr Quigley to Patient X in May 2011, in error, as he was unaware the patient had died.

Paul Anthony McDermott, barrister for Dr Quigley, told the inquiry that mistakes were made and tests ordered were not conducted and his client was not able to explain this.

He said a paper based system operated at Ely Hospital at the time.

Mr McDermott said Dr Quigley has offered his condolences to the family and recognises he has a professional duty to be questioned about the case.

He also said there was no dispute about the facts, but that there was no allegation being made that Dr Quigley's conduct caused or contributed to the death of Patient X.

It is alleged that Dr Quigley failed to take an adequate history or undertake an adequate examination of Patient X in August 2009.

It is also alleged that Dr Quigley failed to pursue investigations.

Another allegation is that he failed to respond in a timely manner to the referral letter from the patient's GP, prescribed a drug that had already been prescribed and that he failed to maintain adequate records.

Three witnesses have been granted anonymity at the inquiry.

Patient X also had hip and ankle problems.

Patient X's widow told the inquiry that her husband was a carpenter, was born with a club foot but was fit.

She said she attended with her husband in August 2009 where he saw Dr Quigley as a private patient at Ely Hospital.

After the consultation, she felt her husband was in good hands and Dr Quigley had listed off a series of tests to be done.

She said no arrangements were made for tests and her husband's health deteriorated.