15 March 2017: Federation of Indian Associations of NSW (FIAN) has demanded stricter penalties for a fake doctor who stole medical credentials of a British doctor and then managed not only to emigrate to Australia but also serve at NSW hospitals for over a decade – undetected.
In a press statement released today, Sydney’s Indian community leader Dr Yadu Singh expressed concern that the fraudulent career of Shyam Acharya may potentially harm the medical profession of “those who share his geographical origin”. Dr Singh is the president of FIAN.
“We believe that fines alone are not sufficient penalties for such people. Custodial sentences should also be in place to punish the culprits and create a significant deterrence against such behaviour,” Dr Singh said on Wednesday.
The well-regarded cardiologist, who was recently termed “Goldmine leader” by a daily newspaper, expressed support for NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard who he said was “rightly 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”.
Seven News reported yesterday that the accused fraudster has been tracked down in India and that a strike force has been formed to bring the man back to Australia to face fraud charges. If convicted, he faces a maximum fine of $30,000 which, the vocal community leader indicated, is grossly incommensurate with his offence.
Mr Acharya is an Australian citizen and co-owns a house in Ryde, Federation of Indian Associations of NSW said in the press release, adding, “NSW Health is exploring the possibility to recoup the money paid by NSW Government to this fake doctor by forcing a sale and seizing his share in this house, which he co-owns in Ryde. This house is apparently worth $1.5 million.”
Dr Singh, who also finds time to blog in between his medical practice and community work, said that the system failed “big time” in screening credentials of the accused fake doctor. The process of medical registration has however been made more stringent since 2013, he added.