The University of Auckland says it is "extremely concerned" a person who applied for entry into its medical programme in 2010, and was unsuccessful, has since been attending classes.
Professor John Fraser, Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, said in a statement today that the university had launched an investigation after the student was discovered when an assignment was submitted that did not match any name on the class list.
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"Because of the size of the medical class, and by not submitting assessments or sitting tests, the individual was able to deceive classmates and teachers," Fraser said.
"This person has not been given any confidential or restricted training material, and has not, to our knowledge, ever been able to examine any patients or received confidential patient information," he said.
However, a student from the University of Auckland's medical school, who requested to remain anonymous, told ONE News the "fake medical student...attended our lectures, labs, tutorials, clinical teaching, and hospital attachments".
"During this time he had access to confidential patient information during clinical attachments.
"It is understood that he obtained a forged student doctor identification badge and was permitted to interview patients as a medical student despite not being one."
The student said that the person also had access to the medical school's dissection labs, including dissection of bodies donated to the medical school.
"It is uncertain how he was able to obtain access to parts of the medical school buildings which are swipe card controlled."
The student said it is not believed that patient safety was at risk at any time.
"The university has issued a trespass notice against him, and the police may pursue criminal prosecution if he has breached any laws around patient contact, but this is pending the medical school's investigation into the matter."
The student said that the person was good friends with a number of students in the class, and was popular.
"Understandably the class is very shocked, and no one knew anything of this, not even his family."
Fraser said the university was investigating how the case happened and said it will review all of its procedures surrounding enrolment.
"The university is taking this very seriously. This type of behaviour is extremely unusual and this is the first such instance in the 43-year history of the medical school.
He said the university will assist in any investigations by any statutory agency.
"In view of this individual's actions and the likelihood of a police investigation, it is inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time," he said.