Fake doctor convicted and fined in Victoria

Wednesday, 05 February, 2020

Fake doctor convicted and fined in Victoria

A Victorian man has been convicted and fined for falsely claiming to be a medical practitioner. Following charges laid by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra), Panayiotis Marlassi-Bouras was convicted in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and found guilty of six charges under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. He was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $1308 in costs to Ahpra.

Marlassi-Bouras has never been registered with the Medical Board of Australia and does not have qualifications as a medical practitioner.

The court found that in January and February 2019, Marlassi-Bouras presented himself as a medical practitioner to two individuals and provided each of them with a business card that described him as a medical practitioner. He provided medical advice to one of the individuals, advising her to stop taking her epilepsy medication.

In sentencing, Magistrate King commented that general deterrence requires significant fines so that quality of medical practice is assured and the public can be protected. The offending in this case was deemed reckless and advising someone to cease taking epilepsy medication was extremely dangerous, showing callous disregard towards the complainant.

In October 2019 Marlassi-Bouras was charged by Ahpra with three counts of using the protected title ‘medical practitioner’ and three counts of holding himself out as a medical practitioner.

Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said, “Public safety is at the forefront of all we do and prosecuting cases like this is an important part of our work to ensure the public is not exposed to fake practitioners.”

Medical Board of Australia Chair Dr Anne Tonkin said, “Patients put their trust in properly qualified and registered medical practitioners and it is a gross violation of that trust when someone falsely claims to be registered.”

Anyone with concerns about whether an individual is registered with a national health profession board can check the register of practitioners or contact Ahpra on 1300 419 495.

Changes from 1 July 2019

In February 2019, the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Qld) was passed by the Queensland Parliament. The amendments included increased penalties and introduced an imprisonment term of up to three years for offences against the National Law. The penalties will apply to offences committed after 1 July 2019. The introduction of an imprisonment term means that some offences will automatically become indictable offences in all states and territories (except Western Australia).

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/bluraz

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