'Greedy' Health Experts Jailed for Defrauding NHS

Four operating theatre staff who defrauded the health service of almost half a million pounds by working privately in NHS time are jailed for a total of nine years.


The perfusionists, whose job was to keep patients' hearts and lungs functioning during operations at Basildon Hospital, only worked about half of their contracted hours, while moonlighting privately at other NHS hospitals without their managers' knowledge.

Basildon Crown Court heard that they referred to Basildon Hospital as "Bad Vegas" because of the money they were making.

Judge David Owen-Jones described the scam as "a systemic, well-planned, organised and executed initiative".

He added: "While taking a salary from the NHS for a 37-and-a-half hour week, you worked elsewhere at other hospitals during NHS hours. I feel these offences were motivated purely by greed."

All four were directors of London Perfusion Science Ltd, which made money from their private work.

'Motivated purely by greed'

The ringleader of the fraud was 41-year-old John Mulholland, from east London

The ringleader of the fraud was 41-year-old John Mulholland [pictured], from east London, a renowned heart specialist who has published papers in international journals. He was jailed for three years.

An email he sent to his three colleagues, which was read to the court, revealed that he tried to avoid NHS work "unless it's going to make cash/make our lives easier".

Ann Clements, 51, Martin Oliver, 37, both from east London, and Tom Cumberland, 42, from south east London, were jailed for two years for conspiracy to defraud.

Over four years, the group failed to work 14,000 hours which they were paid for. Instead, they earned an extra £700,000 for their company through their private work, largely at Hammersmith Hospital in west London.

It is not clear exactly how much they made from the scam, but they are thought to have earned salary overpayments of £430,000.

The sentences follow a major probe by NHS Protect, which investigates fraud in the health service.

'Considerable rewards'

Sue Frith, from NHS Protect, said: "The time, effort and planning that they were willing to put in to their criminal activities reaped them considerable rewards - until NHS Protect caught up with them."

Benjamin Summers, mitigating for Mullholland, said the destruction of his career had been "utter and complete".

He told the court Mulholland had a daughter with a serious long-term health condition and his wife would be left as the sole career while he was jailed.

The court heard that Clements, Oliver and Cumberland were medium-scale players whose careers were also in tatters.



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