Colleagues had concerns over NSW ‘fake doctor’ early on

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The ABC reports that early in his Australian career, colleagues had concerns over the competence of a man accused of impersonating a doctor for over a decade.

A former colleague of Shyam Acharya, an alleged ‘fake doctor’ accused of impersonating a qualified professional for over a decade, has told the ABC that the man was known for his “shabby” work.

The unnamed medical professional worked with Acharya as a junior doctor at Gosford Hospital in 2003, the ABC reported.

The doctor said the moment he heard the man’s name, he remembered him “with fear and loathing”.

“It suddenly all made sense,” he said.

Authorities are still trying to find Shyam Acharya, accused of stealing the name and credentials of a qualified doctor in India, to enter Australia and work in NSW hospitals.

Acharya allegedly posed as Sarang Chitale to work at Manly, Hornsby, Wyong and Gosford hospitals between 2003 and 2014, and at private medical research company Novotech between June 2015 and September 2016.

Numerous doctors had concerns over the man’s competence, the doctor said, but the issues were not raised at a higher level.

“He had a reputation of being very fast and not very thorough.”

“A fair few of the other doctors that I was working with had similar issues to me with him and with his medicine,” he told the ABC.

A passport allegedly used to pose as Sarang Chitale.
A passport allegedly used to pose as Sarang Chitale.
AAP Image/Supplied

Acharya became “aggressive” and “defensive” when his medical decisions were questioned – but because he was new to the country, he was not pressed, the doctor said.

“Everyone was so stressed just trying to get through the shift and trying to hold it together.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said the state health department must accept responsibility.

“There's no doubt there's a huge number of questions around his registration criteria, his qualifications, all those issues which I know now many doctors, whether they're from overseas or local, go through so many processes now to demonstrate their qualification,” she said.

“Clearly this didn't happen 11 years ago.”

Since that time more stringent guidelines had been introduced, the premier said, but “the fact that it went on for 11 years adds to the surprise and shock that many people are feeling today”.

“Clearly we need to make sure at a state level we've done everything we can.”

- with AAP

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