The capital region, Region Hovedstaden, has announced that auditor BDO will be taking audit samples from the doctors’ research funding at all hospitals in the region to avoid cases of fund abuse like at the city hospital, Rigshospitalet.
The move comes after Jyllands-Posten newspaper revealed that a number of heart surgeons had used funding earmarked for research to dine at expensive Michelin-star restaurants.
“There has been a very sick culture at Rigshospitalet’s Heart Centre and we are cleaning that up,” Sofie Hæstorp Andersen (S), the head of Region Hovedstaden, told Jyllands-Posten.
“I want to be absolutely certain that the systematic fraud at Rigshospitalet’s Heart Centre is not occurring anywhere else.”
Henrik Steen Hansen, the head of heart illness association Hjerteforeningen and a doctor at Odense University Hospital, fears that the scandal will affect the credibility of researchers and the appropriations granted to them for funding their research.
“Denmark is the OECD nation that has seen the largest decline in deaths from cardiovascular disease since 1990, and this is down to research,” Hansen said.
“I fear that research credibility will wane and it will become more difficult to get patients to take part in new research projects.”
At least three high-ranking doctors have been reported to the police for abusing the research funding, but more could be on the way, according to the head of Rigshospitalet, Jannik Hilsted.