A critical care nurse who worked hundreds of shifts for a private agency while on paid sick leave from the NHS has been sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment.
John Allen, 52, of Westminster Road, North Shore, Blackpool, defrauded £40,734.50 between January 2007 and October 2009, while he was employed by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as a full time nurse in the critical care unit. The unit had to cover his absences with nurse bank staff, adding to the cost.
Mr Allen resigned in November 2009. The following month, suspicions arose that he had been working for a private nursing agency while on certificated sick leave from the trust and in receipt of full occupational sick pay.
It was established by NHS Protect investigators he had worked 385 shifts for the agency since joining it in 2007. His gross earnings from the private agency work – all while on paid sick leave from the NHS – were around £113,000.
The reasons given for his sickness absence were depression and back problems. In August 2006 he had fallen at the Royal Preston Hospital while on duty and sustained a back injury which qualified him to receive a temporary injury allowance.
However, Mr Allen declared no back problems to the agency, and later submitted three annual declarations of health, stating he had no previous medical issues.
Pauline Smith, North West area anti-fraud specialist for NHS Protect, said: “We will formally refer this case to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, to consider whether Allen should remain a nurse.”