Sydney — An Indian man who moved to Australia after stealing the identity of a doctor, was on the run from authorities on Thursday after being caught out as a “fake” medical practitioner.
“This shows a big failing of the system,” Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said.
Shyam Acharya registered with the Medical Board of New South Wales in 2003, after he allegedly stole the identity of another doctor in India, Sarang Chitale, Xinhua news agency reported.
He was also able to gain citizenship and, during his time in Australia, he worked in four hospitals in New South Wales and even performed surgery on unsuspecting patients.
In 2013, Acharya worked for international pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, before moving to medical research group Novatech in 2016.
Suspicious of his qualification, the company raised the alarm, notifying the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the New South Wales Police.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency told Xinhua a tougher screening process has been implemented since 2003 and should protect against this type of incident occurring again.
“The national regulatory scheme in Australia, the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, began in 2010,” a spokesperson said.
“The scheme has strong processes and requirements for verifying qualifications and identity of applicants for medical registration including a number of new requirements and checks.”
“These include tougher verification of qualifications through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and systematic checking of international criminal history and more rigorous identity checks.”