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Adelaide surgeon on deception charges identified

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An Adelaide vascular surgeon charged with deception for allegedly falsifying time sheets to claim payment from the public health system can now be identified.

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Professor James Ian Spark, 56, of Kingswood, was charged with 25 counts of deceiving another to benefit himself, after an investigation by the state’s anti-corruption watchdog.

Spark was a surgeon at Flinders Medical Centre for many years but SA Health says he no longer works for the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.

He’s accused of deceiving the public health system out of more than $65,000.

Spark’s case was heard in court for the first time today but the surgeon didn’t attend and his lawyer asked for an adjournment for a pre-trial conference.

Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Ann Vanstone last week issued a statement revealing a surgeon at a metropolitan public hospital had been charged with deception following an investigation by her officers.

It is alleged that between 25 June 2017 and 27 April 2018, Spark deceived SA Health by submitting timesheets falsely claiming that he had been recalled to hospital to perform surgery.

“It will be alleged that in some instances claims were made for procedures with which the surgeon had no involvement; in others he merely offered advice to a more junior doctor but did not perform the relevant procedure himself,” Vanstone’s statement said.

“Other claims were for procedures the surgeon did perform, but in ordinary working hours for which he was already being paid.

“Still others concerned claims for surgery undertaken in his private capacity.”

Vanstone said that in all but one instance the timesheets were certified and authorised by the surgeon himself.

It is alleged that the total amount of the fraudulent claims is more than $65,000.

The maximum penalty for deception is 10 years in jail.

The case was adjourned for a pre trial conference in September.

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