Second Indian Doctor Under a Cloud in Australia is also Returning Home

by Gopalan on August 16, 2007 at 6:30 PM
Second Indian Doctor Under a Cloud in Australia is also Returning Home

THE second Indian doctor to get into trouble in Australia is also returning home, without much of a harm happening to him.

Mohammed Asif Ali was charged with tampering with his resume to get his job in the Gold Coast hospital in Queensland.


Mohammed Haneef, first charged in the Glasgow bombing, but who gave a bloody nose to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) before making an honourable exit, had also worked in the same hospital.

Asif Ali was first questioned over Haneef's activities, but subsequently he became the centre of a probe for lying about his resume. He was suspended with pay.

It was reported the 26-year-old Dr Asif Ali's resume included up to 12 months of hospital work in India that he never performed.

At the time of his supposed employment, he was attending to family problems and had taken time off.

Queensland Health's Ethical Standards Unit has interviewed Dr Ali about lying on his resume and is finalising its report.

It's not known what the findings are.

Dr Mohammed Asif Ali has asked the AFP for his passport back and is expected to resign from Queensland Health.

Once he resigns, the state government will suspend its investigation and thus preempt a report that could have been damaging to the state government.

The report might have made it look that the government had not carried out its background check on Ali properly.

The opposition media are hinting that Ali is being enabled to leave the country without being charged in the resume scam as part of a deal.

Interestingly Ali too hails from Karnataka in India, as does Haneef. He had graduated from the Mysore University in that Indian state.

Ali's lawyer, Neil Lawler, conceded parts of his resume provided to Queensland health were inaccurate.

"There are a few discrepancies which Dr Ali acknowledges," Mr. Lawler said.

"His resume in particular ... he'd extended some dates for employment ... and that was inaccurate and he acknowledges that." He also admitted rubber stamps carrying the name and details of different specialists at a medical college in Bangalore, India, were found in his client's Gold Coast unit.

However, he said the stamps had never been used.

Again both Dr Ali and Dr Haneef were recruited from Liverpool in England and sponsored on 457 work visas by Queensland Health.

The incident had once again stirred the debate about 457 work visas and the vetting of skilled migrant applications, especially in the northern state of Queensland that relies heavily on foreign doctors.

Australia, which is undergoing skills shortages in various fields like health and engineering, desperately needs overseas workers to fill positions in the sectors.

Doctors have been able to apply for the Temporary Business Long Stay visa (subclass 457) since April 2005.

About 3,000 foreign medical graduates a year are allowed into Australia, many of them under the 457 Visa scheme.

The Department of Immigration website points doctors to the temporary business (long stay) visa (subclass 457), describing it as the 'preferred temporary visa pathway for doctors entering Australia. It allows applicants to take advantage of streamlined visa processing arrangements, including the ability to lodge applications over the Internet using a special online application form'.

There are around 5,000 overseas trained doctors working under supervision and under the 457 temporary visa scheme. In the past 12 months, 1,200 doctors have been given visas under the scheme and Queensland Health is understood to be its biggest user.

Two years ago, the case of Jayant Patel dubbed as Dr. Death in Queensland had raised concerns over the recruitment of overseas doctors.

Dr Patel, had falsified his application for registration in Queensland, hiding the fact he had been found guilty of gross negligence in the US, has been linked to the deaths of least 17 patients at Bundaberg Base Hospital.

He too managed to flee to safety in US.

It may be noted that while Australia's ruling Liberal-National coalition is expected to receive a severe drubbing in the national elections only a few months away, Queensland itself is ruled by the Labour, seen as the future ruling party.

In the circumstances, Ali's issue could come in handy for the conservative media to attack the

Source: Medindia
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