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Last Updated:  Monday, 10 March, 2003, 11:57 GMT
Health chiefs welcome nurse's jailing
John Radcliffe Hospital sign
She admitted 20 counts of deception at her trial
Health officials have welcomed the jailing of a nurse who defrauded the NHS of almost 135,000.

Shauna Bowen-Thomas, from Cardiff, was jailed for 18 months on Friday for falsifying timesheets over two years.

She was employed by the British Nursing Association to work at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital and arrived there every morning, but left shortly afterwards without doing anything.

The NHS Fraud Service, which conducted the inquiry into the deception, said the sentence was good news for patients if it acted as a deterrent to others.

The sentence passed...reflects the contempt within society that public funds should be abused in this way and gives the clear signal that such behaviour will not be tolerated
NHS Fraud Service
A spokesperson for the fraud service said:

"The vast majority of those who work in and use the NHS find the behaviour of the fraudulent minority to be completely unacceptable.

"The sentence passed last Friday on Shauna Bowen-Thomas reflects the contempt within society that public funds should be abused in this way and give the clear signal that such behaviour will not be tolerated."

During April 2002, hospital bosses became suspicious of the amount of hours for agency work Bowen-Thomas was claiming, and referred the matter to the NHS Counter Fraud Service.

The timesheets appeared to have been approved by the three relevant authorities at the hospital, but all three made statements denying this.

She admitted 20 charges of deception and asked for a further 59 similar offences to be taken into consideration for the period 3 July 2000 to 25 March 2002.

The John Radcliffe Hospital said they have changed procedures to ensure it could not happen again.

"As soon as the Trust was aware that this was happening it immediately reviewed internal controls and checks.

"It is difficult for any large organisation to eliminate fraud completely but it is helpful that the NHS can now draw on the support and expertise of the counter-fraud team to help keep money meant for patient care in the NHS."

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24 Apr 02 |  Health

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