NHS team jailed for £430,000 moonlighting scam
A team of medical experts were jailed today for billing the NHS for more than £430,000 of work while they were moonlighting at seven other hospitals.
The four perfusionists – specialists who operate heart and lung machines during surgery – were employed by Basildon hospital in Essex, but the hospital’s cardiothoracic unit performed too few operations for their services to be needed all the time.
The four, who set up a private company called London Perfusion Science, emailed each other about doing “face shows” at Basildon but earned hundreds of thousands of pounds working at London hospitals closer to their homes. Junior members of staff were told by the team to work at other hospitals but were not paid by the company.
The scam was undone when an anonymous whistleblower prompted an investigation by the NHS counter-fraud team. The four were tracked through an electronic security system which monitored them going in and out of the hospital and its car park.
John Mulholland – an expert in his field who has published papers in international journals – was jailed for three years. Fellow directors Ann Clements, 51, and Martin Oliver, 37, who like Mulholland lived in Limehouse, east London, and Tom Cumberland, 42, from Penge, south London, all received two-year sentences.
John Mulholland has been jailed for three years for conspiracy to defraud the NHS Sue Frith, head of investigations at NHS Protect, the health service counter-fraud team, said: “These custodial sentences reflect the seriousness of the offences and will act as a powerful deterrent to others.”
Investigators found that while the four were given full-time salaries from Basildon NHS Trust, they only worked there for 55 per cent of their contracted hours. It meant that they were overpaid for 14,000 hours of work.
Andrew Penhale, deputy head of fraud at the CPS, said: “John Mulholland and his co-defendants took advantage of their specialist role to systematically defraud Basildon NHS Trust for their own dishonest enrichment. Their emails revealed that they did so with cynical disregard for the loss to the National Health Service and the public purse.”
NHS Protect said it was investigating allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption with a potential value of more than £20m.
A former head of the counter-fraud team claimed earlier this year that the scale was much bigger, and that fraud was costing the NHS £5bn a year, with errors costing another £2bn. The estimate was based on global figures which suggested that average losses were about 7 per cent of healthcare budgets.
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo