The NHS organisation responsible for tackling fraud has launched a bid to reclaim around £89,000 from a student who faked her identity and invented dependent children to secure nursing bursaries.
Eleanor Bonde, who is 57 years old, pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud relating to obtaining places on nursing courses between 2001 and 2012.
”In this case, a lot of public money has gone to waste to train and support someone who was well aware she was not eligible for the courses”
She failed all three university courses part way through them and so never became a nurse.
Last month she was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, following an appearance at Guildford Crown Court.
NHS Protect led an investigation into her conduct which revealed Ms Bonde made applications to the University of Surrey, the University of Brighton and Anglia Ruskin University.
It found that false identity documents were presented for enrolment at Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Brighton.
NHS Protect claimed the total loss to the NHS from the cost of the bursaries was £88,804 – which it noted was enough to pay four newly qualified nurses’ annual salaries.
”The NHS can ill afford to be exploited in this way for personal gain”
It said it will now try and recover the money and has served a notice in court requiring Ms Bonde to provide details of her assets.
“Fraud against the NHS takes valuable resources out of the system, ultimately diverting money from patient care,” said Sue Frith, managing director of NHS Protect and interim chief executive of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority.
“In this case, a lot of public money has gone to waste to train and support someone who was well aware she was not eligible for the courses, the course funding or the bursaries.
“The NHS can ill afford to be exploited in this way for personal gain,” she said.
“We urge NHS workers and the general public to continue reporting any suspicion of fraud against the NHS to our dedicated fraud and corruption reporting line,” she added.