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Indian 'doctor's' case prompts Australian government to crack down on fake passports and degrees

Doctor Source: AAP

In the matter of Shyam Acharya, NSW Health's deputy secretary Karen Crawshaw says that "The root cause of this was false identity to get into the country in the first place."

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has laid charges against Shyam Acharya for a breach of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

In the wake of an Indian working as a 'doctor' in New South Wales for more than a decade on stolen identity, the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has told ABC News that the situation was shocking and he would raise it at a national level.

"It is quite disturbing that a foreign national could get through our border protection with a false passport and ID based on an Indian citizen who had trained as a doctor," Mr Hazzard says.

Mr Hazzard also says that he will raise the matter at this month's COAG Health Minister's meeting.

Brad Hazzard
Brad Hazzard, New South Wales Minister
NITV

He would see whether the checks and balances are in place at a national level.

This is to aceratin that cases like Shyam Acharya's don't occur again in Australia.

NSW Health's deputy secretary Karen Crawshaw said no complaints were received by the Medical Council of NSW or the Health Care Complaints Commission against Shyam Acharya.

"The root cause of this was false identity to get into the country in the first place," she says.

Ms Cranshaw adds that "the documentation that got him registered was in fact legitimate documentation of a doctor." 

The Health Minister has also directed NSW Health to make sure it did whatever it could to look beyond fake passports, reports ABC News.

He says that "the Ministry of Health has advised me there have been substantial changes since 2003 in the checks that are made, but I want health to revisit the issue."

Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord has called on the State Government to reveal if it has contacted all patients who may have been affected between 2003 and 2014.

"It is incredible that this man could practice for 11 years and come into contact with hundreds of patients and go unnoticed," Mr Secord notes.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) are still to relesae their statement on Shyam Acharya's case.

Shyam Acharya's current whereabouts are unknown and the charge carries a maximum penalty of $30,000.