By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Former nursing student jailed for NHS fraud

A former overseas nursing student at Thames Valley and Surrey universities has been jailed for defrauding the NHS of over £18,000.

Memory Chamboko, 35, of College Town, Owlsmoor, Hampshire, was sentenced to six months in prison this week by Reading Crown Court.

She entered the UK in 2002 on a student visa but stayed on after it ran out, and had a subsequent asylum application refused.

A joint police and NHS Counter Fraud Service investigation found she had defrauded the NHS of £18,699.93 from two student bursaries. She pleaded guilty to seven offences, involving deception and false documentation.

Ms Chamboko started an adult nursing diploma at the University of Surrey in September 2006 and applied for a bursary. She supported her applications with a false Home Office letter stating she had indefinite leave to remain in the UK, which was a condition of acceptance for both the course and bursary.

She received bursary payments of £3,952.81 to cover September 2006 to March 2007 but, following an unsatisfactory Criminal Records Bureau check, she withdrew from the course in March 2007.

Ms Chamboko then fraudulently obtained a place on an adult nursing course at Thames Valley University, which she attended from March 2008 until her arrest two weeks ago on 15 April. For this application she used the name Rutendo Memory Chamboko, giving a different date of birth from that given to Surrey University. As a result she received additional NHS Student Bursary payments of £14,747.12.

Readers' comments (24)

  • GOOD!!!! Pity she can't get a longer sentence....then shipped back to where she came from!!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • There are MANY more where she came from. It is about time that all employers of foreign nationals looked VERY closely at the documentation they used to obtain their jobs. Two years ago we lost 22 staff as illegal immigrants because of forged /false documentation. Border controls agreed we had done all we could but the forgeries were very good. Most of those we 'sacked' went away, used another name to get a job elsewhere.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • hope she's paying back all the bursary- any travel and addittional expences she has managed to get out of us, and the cost of the time it took the mentors to train her.
    with Fruad like this and i know she is not the only one- the money should be used for patient care and CPD for those that are entittled

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • yes she should be made to pay this back, but that would delay her deportation after her jail sentence, pity she isnt serving her sentence in her home land which would be alot harder than here and we as tax payers wouldnt be paying for her in jail. Im sure there are alot more like her, which is a very worrying thought. More checks should be done, but understand this is difficult.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Why not return this person to where she came from? as she does not have a visa to stay here.
    Again the tax payer is paying for her to be imprisioned here.
    cheaper and more cost efficient to send her back

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I agree with the person who said that it would be better to be able to deport someone who has committed a crime in this country rather than imprison them at further UK expense. However, we are indebted to many excellent, honest and dedicated overseas students who subsequently staff our hospitals and community. Let's face it, very sadly, many UK nationals and residents will not contemplate nursing as a career and prefer to opt for less onerous degrees and go into jobs that will ultimately pay better.
    As it is, we almost have to 'bribe' people with a bursary to get enough students. Surely, this is open to abuse which detracts from those students who are legitimate and diligent? Luckily, most nursing students and trained nurses are not like this lady.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Reading over this story and the subsequent comments I feel I must offer an alternative viewpoint. There is no doubt that the girl in question committed numerous offences according to UK law and NHS bursary regulations and of course must now face the consequences. However I can't help wanting to know a little more every time I read about such stories. Ultimately, here is a girl who wants to train to qualify as a nurse and potentially dedicate the rest of her working life to the noblest profession. This girl has not been born into this world with the opportunities and benefits we are so lucky to be able to make use of in the UK. I feel very fortunate to have been born in this country and to have had a secure home, education and healthcare without ever having to struggle for it. Might we not take this argument a little further by questioning the nature of the UK immigration system and how it seems to be failing us. Are we allowed to know why this girl was refused permission to stay in the first place? A country such as Australia is highly selective and the system is stricter, but if people are offering the country a valuable skill such as nursing and can show commitment and dedication, it is likely they will ultimately be welcomed. There are vast numbers of people living in this country illegally, costing the taxpayer multiples of the amount above, and offering nothing to society in return. Furthermore if we are worried about financial losses, what about the thousands of UK students who take bursaries and places on Nursing courses and don't finish the course. In a world where the highly intelligent psychopath can rise to the very top in professions such as politics, banking and even medicine, defraud the public out of billions financially and emotionally, and remain largely disguised and shielded by our increasingly narcissistic culture, surely we need to get a little perspective on how harshly we judge those who for all we know may ultimately want to do good, but are merely struggling to get by in a very unfair world. What is more important - the spirit of the law or the letter of the law? Idealistic my opinion may be, but one thing I know for sure is that all is never as it seems.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I salute the above writer. You have said all I would have said, I therefore rest my case. What about the broad day light politician and banker thieves who are even granted our tax money to defend their theft?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • That is bad I applied at Thamesvalley did the interview and everything and they told me that I was not eligible for the bursery even though I had my indeffinite stay at the time and I received my stay the legitimate way. Now this is going on. Luckily I was accepted at Southbank. Universities need to do more checks with overseas students

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • The niaivity of some of the respondents is so worrying. Fraud is fraud whatever profession you are in. Yes, more information would be good, however, there must have been something that alerted people to her criminal behaviour and I am sure it was not her committment and dedication to nursing. We should be realistic about this. We cannot afford to have liars and cheats in our profession. Are you suggesting that this person should be allowed to continue with her training? Where would her deception and fraud go to? Stealing from patients? She could easily exploit vulnerable patients if she has had the will to defraud the NHS. Would you condone that? What about the respondent who is very dedicated and diligently and legally persevered to pursue her career? She is the kind of nurse we do want to employ. Good for you. Yes, there be all sorts of criminals employed in all sorts of professions, but they should be the minority. The important thing is that initial screening is as robust as possible and if they are devious enough still to be employed, then once exposed they should be dealt with accordingly. Honesty, integrity and dedication are part of any professional persons credentials and if they are flaunted then the person concerned should pay for it not our patients or the NHS.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Yes , i am pleased this one has been caught and i hope the rest of them who have gone through already and those who are still in the midst of training will be weeded out and sent back to where they came from. I do agree with previous writer regarding the devious politicians, bankers and medical personnel, but two wrongs will never make a right and that is why there are laws to be adhered to, what else are they doing to defraud the system?The rate at which things are going we may soon have to work for free, as you can see it is really having a negative impact on the country. WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Great to see thinly veiled bigotry and racism alive in the u.k. The writer's above make me proud to be British and a nurse.

    I'm leaving the U.K. as soon as this contract finishes. Your welcome to continue your village idiot ramblings and wailing about 'safe-guarding' a profession that looks down it's nose at the weak and beleaguered while approving and rewarding stupidity and incompetence. Last time I checked the bursary was a sweetener for working a full time week, nothing 'stolen' from 'us'.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I can see the lack of compassion that some of our nurses have .I wish they will have some difficult experience in life that could help them see persons in such situation differently.One can say,this situation is not necessarily about the bursary. It is about a human being finding themselves in a desperate position.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Isn't it more about working within The Code? There are plenty enough of my colleagues who are struggling the balance of finance, work , family and studying but they operate within the law and the ethics of the profession. I don't really think it appropriate to wish anyone hardship, really do you? Are we suppossed to say "sorry for being caught"? Fraud is fraud with the same penilty what ever your creed. How many others (individuals- all creed) are defrauding the system with exagerated milage claims, hours claimed etc. If it is knowingly done it is dishonest.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • What's 'The Code'?

    You mean that little handbook they send through the post every year after you send in some money? You can't register without money, what's moral about that?

    There's a big old world out there. Some of us have had more to worry about than childcare problems.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • You'll soon be acqainted with The Code if you have a complaint or allegation made against you. It's for public protection, yes it is extortionate but it is what we have to do to practice.
    I was introducing the idea of a work life balance by the way, and yes for those of us who have other responsibilities in our lives, in our big wide world, childcare is a number one priority to do our job.
    This article is about Fraud. If more "health professionals" chose to comment are more professional and less personal, maybe we would have a decent debate going??

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • My objection to the small town racism without full knowledge of the facts is personal not professional. I don't normally check the handbook when wondering whether other people shouldn't wind their necks in on internet forums. I couldn't give a monkey's about professional ethics or 'the code' in this instance. Doubt she'll get the opportunity to register with the NMC now, so 'the code' is a moot point.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • UNBELIEVABLE the attitude of some people that, they feel that this person should have been given some consideration and understanding because she had the aforesight to choose a profession in the healthcare sector. One of which that holds a great deal of responsibility and trust with the most vulnerable members of our population.

    If she is prepared to carry out an act of fraudulent behaviour before she is a registered nurse what, would she be prepared to do once she was in a position of authority and trust, i.e. registered nurse. It is frightening, that she used such a profession to disguise her criminal behaviour. For those not following this - try attending a course on Domestic Abuse. Whether it be financial, emotional, sexual or physical abusers try to disguise their behaviour by appearing the 'perfect individual', and by the sound of some of the comments left it would appear that she has suceeded, in gaining sympathy for her behaviour. Fraud is fraud. Who knows where it may have led if she had been allowed to continue.

    Yes, I agree that a person should not be judged without knowing the full facts. But, we don't appear to be privy to them and therefore, it is difficult. However, that is not to say that we should dismiss our professional code, it is there for a reason. To protect both ourselves and the general public, whether we have to pay to register or not. Yes, the subsciption fees have increased dramatically in recent years but, there again, if we weren't professional in our behaviour and intent we wouldn't be able to re-register, would we!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • its unbelieveable how we can come across as being rasist with our comments, obviously what the lady did was wrong,but how many people born in this country are willing to go out to work let alone do a course in nursing. Am sure there are a lot of theives who are training as nurses in the uk too. Most people prefer to sit at home colleting income support, even though nursing is free, about time people in this country wake up and smell the coffee.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • i am sickened both by the bigots but also by the liberals.point is this person committed fraud and is therefore not fit to practice whatever her background or reasons for doing it.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!

newsletterpromo