Hospital ‘never checks doctors’ criminal records’

A hospital psychiatric unit that employed a doctor with a string convictions for sex offences has admitted that it never checks whether job applicants have criminal records.

Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Hospital was revealed on Thursday to have employed a man recently convicted of rape, a conviction he is now appealing.

The Västra Götaland region, in which Gothenburg is situated, has an official policy of checking the criminal records of all those who apply for jobs in psychiatric units. But this policy is rarely if ever applied, according to bosses at the hospital.

“In my time I have never known of anyone being checked against the criminal register,” said Anna Skånberg, head of human resources for the Sahlgrenska Hospital, to Göteborgs-Posten.

Yvonne Bärfverfeldt at the regional authority’s personnel department, which drew up the rules in 2005, said their application was not optional.

“This rule applies to all applicants who can come into contact with patients. I really hope people aren’t not bothering to apply it,” she said.

The middle-aged doctor whose employment sparked the controversy was convicted last year of sexual molestation of three young men. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

The doctor has appealed the conviction, but according to the Svea Court of Appeal, the hearing has been postponed because the doctor is in the United States until May. In fact, the doctor is in Gothenburg, where he has been working at the clinic.

The man has previous convictions for sex offences. In 2001 he was sentenced to 16 months in jail for rape of a young girl and sexual exploitation of young men. He has also been convicted on several occasions for drugs crimes, fraud and theft.

The doctor is now understood to have resigned from the Sahlgrenska Hospital.