Members of staff at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals faked sickness to get paid twice
Hospital staff have been calling in sick in order to work for other hospital trusts, it has emerged.
There have been a number of instances when staff, supposed to be working at Epsom or St Helier hospitals, have called in sick but had been caught working for other NHS trusts - meaning the tax-payer is paying for their wages twice.
Since the start of this financial year, the trust said they had referred 10 members of staff to their counter fraud specialists for sickness fraud.
Two people went on to be prosecuted, three were disciplined and five were found to have no case to answer.
Minutes of a meeting, noted at the trust’s latest board gathering on October 4, revealed concerns about this sickness fraud by trust board members with non executive director, Pat Baskerville, asking for the issue to be flagged up with all nursing staff.
Mary Burstow chairwoman of Sutton Council’s health and well being scrutiny committee, said: "I’m surprised anyone has got the gall to do it and frankly anyone who does do that is letting the side down. I’m aware how hoard all the staff are working and for someone to go and do that is just wrong."
Tom Brake the MP for Carshalton and Wallington said: "The hospital provides an excellent standard of care at present it could provide even better care if everyone who was supposed to work was available to work at all times."
Chrisha Alagaratnam, deputy chief executive and director of finance and performance at the hospitals, said: "We will not tolerate this kind of fraud, and will not hesitate to investigate and act upon suspicions of fraudulent activity.
"We work closely with our local counter fraud team to raise awareness of fraud and the steps we can take to report it, and they are always available to attend staff inductions, workshops or any of our team meetings to provide training on fraud and bribery awareness."
Across the country fraud costs the NHS millions of pounds each year.
The Epsom and St Helier trust has seen a rise in its average staff sickness rate from 4.28 per cent in 2011-12 to 4.5 per cent in 2012-13.
This means the total number of days staff have taken off for sickness has risen from 34,742 to 38,273.
Comments are closed on this article.