A criminal investigation has been opened after an alleged impostor doctor allegedly worked at Middlemore Hospital

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Health Minister Andrew Little said he was made aware of the matter on Wednesday.

“I have been informed that an investigation is underway into the actions of this individual,” he said in a statement. “I am pleased with Te Whatu Ora – Health NZ’s response to this employment question.”

A spokesperson for Te Whatu Ora Manukau Counties confirmed to AM that the man was hired earlier this year “on the basis of documents which were not authentic”.

“The person is no longer employed at Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau,” the spokesperson said. “This matter is with the police to investigate.”

In an update on Thursday afternoon, Te Whatu Ora said he was contacting affected patients who were seen by the person claiming to be a doctor.

“The individual was working in a clinical research position examining patients, under supervision,” a spokesperson said.

“The individual was removed from his position on August 1 as soon as Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau received concerns about his registration status with the New Zealand Medical Council.”

Their employment was terminated in Te Whatu Ora counties in Manukau on August 10 and a complaint was filed with the police the same day.

Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau apologized to the patients seen by this person.

“We are deeply sorry,” said Dr Andrew Connolly, Chief Medical Officer of Te Whatu Ora Counties in Manukau.

“We have reviewed the care of each patient who has been seen by this person. This includes investigations, treatment plans and the distribution of any medications during the time the person was at Middlemore Hospital.

“We are now contacting all patients seen by this individual. A thorough investigation of the clinical care provided by the individual has indicated to us that there has been no compromise in the care of any patient.”

Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau is undertaking a full investigation into its job verification processes.

If a complaint is made to the Health and Disability Commissioner, the Commissioner may also investigate.

“The Health and Disability Services Consumer Rights Code applies to any person – or entity – providing health or disability services, whether registered or not,” a statement from the Commissioner said. “So if a complaint was made against someone providing a service who was not a registered practitioner, the Health and Disability Commissioner would still assess it to see if it required further investigation.

“Registration and accreditation is the responsibility of professional health and disability service bodies.”

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