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New laws allow authorities to put fake medical practitioners behind bars and impose higher penalties

Tough new laws put fake doctors behind bars after one who didn’t even get into medical school performed a string of bizarre treatments

  • Australia’s new laws to prosecute fake doctors have come into effect on Monday 
  • The new laws will allow fake medical practitioners to be jailed for the first time  
  • More than 50 cases of fake medical practitioners have come to light since 2014

New laws have come into effect allowing authorities for the first time to put fake medical practitioners behind bars and impose higher penalties.

The National Practitioner Regulation National Law Act was amended after authorities prosecuted more than 50 fake practitioners since 2014, but none were jailed for practising medicine without proper qualifications.

They included Victoria-based Raffaele Di Paolo, who pretended to be a gynaecologist and obstetrician when he was, in fact, a homeopath. 

He performed a range of bizarre treatments and tests on his patients, including using a needle to remove semen from a man’s testicles without anaesthetic and injecting homeopathic substances into women’s stomachs and buttocks.

The National Practitioner Regulation National Law Act was amended after authorities prosecuted more than 50 fake practitioners since 2014, but none was jailed for practising medicine without proper qualifications. They included Raffaele Di Paolo (pictured), who pretended to be a gynaecologist and obstetrician when he was, in fact, a homeopath

Di Paolo was sentenced to nine years and six months in jail for dozens of charges, including obtaining property by deception, sexual penetration by fraud and common assault.

But he was not jailed for impersonating a registered health practitioner as the older law didn’t carry any jail term for such offences.

From Monday, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority will be able to impose tougher penalties, including a maximum jail term of three years on those pretending to be a registered practitioner.

Fines will be doubled per offence from $30,000 to $60,000 for an individual and from $60,000 to $120,000 for a corporation.

From Monday, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority will be able to impose tougher penalties, including a maximum jail term of three years on those pretending to be a registered practitioner (pictured Raffaele Di Paolo)

From Monday, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority will be able to impose tougher penalties, including a maximum jail term of three years on those pretending to be a registered practitioner (pictured Raffaele Di Paolo)

Chief executive Martin Fletcher said some cases have included people pretending to be dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists and psychologists.

‘There’s a pretty steady stream of these complaints coming to us and it’s a bit more common than you might have first thought,’ he told reporters.

‘We put a lot of trust in our health practitioners and we expect them to be registered and we expect them to hold professional standards.

‘It’s a gross violation of trust if it turns out that the person they’re seeing is pretending to be registered when they’re not.’

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation described the changes as important in protecting both registered professionals and their patients.

‘The public places a great amount of trust in nurses and the work they do. Anyone who falsely claims to be a nurse betrays this trust and must face the consequences,’ federal secretary Annie Butler said.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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