A locum consultant radiologist, who is facing allegations of poor professional performance, has begun giving direct evidence at a Medical Council inquiry and has been outlining many problems he faced during his time at Bantry General.

The allegations against Dr Dawar Siddiqi relate to serious errors in up to 22 CT scans he reported on.

However, the inquiry has now withdrawn two cases from the original 22 CT scan reports.

It has also withdrawn the second allegation, that Dr Siddiqi's rate of error was unacceptably high. The first allegation that he made serious errors remains.

Mr Siddiqi said he did his best but was given no voice training for the new PAX technology to read scans, which was being installed in July 2013.

The voice-recognition system was not working and at times no work was going through the new reporting system for around nine days, he said. 

A radiographer went on leave for over two weeks.

He said he regularly worked on beyond his scheduled hours and four day a week commitment.

Dr Siddiqi told the inquiry he was very experienced and had run a department for eight years in Saudi Arabia.

CEO had concerns about radiologist

Earlier, a HSE hospital group Chief Executive told the inquiry why he brought issues concerning Mr Siddiqi to its attention.

Tony McNamara, CEO of the Cork University Hospital Group, said that after receiving an audit report on 62 random samples of the radiologist's reports on scans at Bantry General, he wrote to the Council on 5 September 2014.

He said he consulted on the matter and the issues in the Faculty of Radiology audit report were of significant concern regarding patient safety to warrant this action.

Mr McNamara said the audit was commissioned from the Faculty of Radiology before he became responsible for Bantry Hospital.

The audit identified five cases of concern, three major and two minor matters.

Dr Siddiqi has told the inquiry there were other steps to be taken first by the HSE, before the matter was referred to the Medical Council and he claims these procedures were jumped.

Mr McNamara told the inquiry there was nothing personal in the matter, he has never met Dr Siddiqi but he had to protect patients' interests.

Dr Siddiqi said he did not agree with all of the findings of the expert witness, Dr Peter Ellis.

But he accepted that compared with plain film and ultrasound, reporting on CT scans was his "weaker area".

The Medical Council inquiry has adjourned until next week.

An application by Dr Siddiqi to defer the hearing was not granted by the Fitness to Practise Committee.