Judge Reginald Lockett told Paul Bint, 32, who has a long record of similar offences, that the public had to be protected from people who posed as doctors.
'The public have great faith in the medical profession, and rightly so, and it is our duty to see that faith is not undermined,' he said.
Bint, of no fixed address, but originally from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, was appearing at Preston Crown Court to be sentenced after pleading guilty before magistrates to nine charges of burglary, theft, obtaining property by deception and forging a prescription.
He committed the offences in what the prosecution called a 'catalogue of dishonesty' after being discharged last December from a special hospital where he was being treated under an order.
Wallets, credit cards, stethoscopes, radio-pagers and a mobile telephone were stolen from surgeons' pockets in hospital theatre changing rooms. Property was stolen at Middlesex Hospital, London, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Walton Hospital, Liverpool, Blackburn Royal Infirmary and the Royal Preston Hospital.
The judge said the most serious offence was at the Royal Preston on Boxing Day last year, when Bint obtained a pass from a telephone supervisor, telling her that he was Dr David Watkin and was covering for another doctor as a locum. He was issued with a radio- pager - and took a stethoscope to further the illusion.
While in the hospital he was asked to sign a form cross-matching a patient's blood for surgery.
After reading psychiatric reports on Bint, the judge told him: 'Only a sentence of imprisonment is appropriate and it will not be a short one.'
In previous escapades, Bint had put stitches in a patient's head wound, attended a man with a collapsed lung, and arranged X-rays.Reuse content