Sydney, 11 March, 2017
It is a matter of grave concern that Shyam Acharya stole the identity and medical degrees of Dr Sarang Chitale, and then entered Australia where he worked as a junior doctor in 4 NSW hospitals-Hornsby, Manly, Wyong and Gosford hospitals during 2003-2014. He was on a limited registration and was permitted to work under supervision in public hospitals. He never went though rigorous medical registration processes.
The identity and degrees he stole from is Dr Sarang Chitale who is a reputed Rheumatologist in North England.
Shyam Acharya obtained Australian citizenship too. After co-workers developed suspicion about his medical background after 2014-15, when worked in pharmaceutical companies, a complaint was made to Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Authority (AHPRA). AHPRA has taken him to the court under relevant laws. The case is pending in a Sydney court. He is facing a maximum of $30,000 fines. His whereabouts are unknown presently. It is suspected that he has fled to India.
NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, is keen for the relevant rules to be amended so that Mr Acharya or anyone else who acts or pretends as a doctor, but is not a registered doctor and not entitled to hold himself/herself out as a medical doctor, is also punished with a jail term. Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, supports this proposal.
NSW Health is exploring the possibility to recoup the money paid by NSW Government to this fake doctor by forcing the sale and seizing his share in this house, which he co-owns in Ryde. Apparently, this house is of $1.5 million value.
Multiple investigations are under way currently to get to the bottom of how a fake doctor could work for 11 years within NSW Public Health System and obtain Australian citizenship, before getting caught.
This case is all over the news and people are talking about it because of its brazen nature and long duration. Many doctors are quite concerned about this case because of its real and potential consequences for patients. It also has a potential to create a substantial harm to medical profession, especially to those who share his geographical origin as a way of their background or ethnicity.
System failed here big time, but it is well-known that systems and processes for medical registration have been tightened in 2013. Identification and credentialing are performed stringently.
In due course, investigating authorities will find out ins and outs of this matter, and get him extradited from wherever he is currently hiding. He must be brought to justice.
We believe that fines alone are not sufficient penalties for such people. Jail terms should also be in place to create a significant deterrence against such behaviour. Federation of Indian Associations of NSW is demanding a review of the punishment regime for those who violate the law in this regard. PRESS RELEASE: NOT JUST FINES, JAIL TERMS SHOULD ALSO BE GIVEN TO FAKE DOCTORS Final
It is not appropriate or permissible for any person to write “Dr” before their names and hold themselves as medical practitioners if they are not registered as a medical practitioner in Australia.
Similarly, there is a trend for some with a PhD from overseas to write “Dr” before their names, even when they are working in a totally unrelated area (to the field of their PhD) to gain undeserved reputation and credibility. Unfortunately, some of these people are involved in disreputable, if not illegal, activities like exploitation of vulnerable people and are not known to have integrity. We believe that people should not be permitted to hold themselves out as scientists or research scholars, with word “Dr” before their names, if they are not working in the field of their PhD.
Dr Yadu Singh