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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 November 2007, 13:46 GMT
Sick leave nurse defrauds the NHS
Queen Margaret Hospital
Clark undertook shifts at Queen Margaret Hospital
A nurse has been given 135 hours' community service for doing 15 agency shifts while on sick leave from her NHS 24 staff job.

Katherine Clark, 35, was sentenced during an appearance at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

She had claimed 2,984 sick pay between 31 October, 2006, and 21 December, 2006, while working for NHS Fife as an agency nurse at two hospitals.

The NHS Counter Fraud Services (CFS) carried out a probe into the case.

CFS's communications manager, Maggie Worsfold, said the sentence demonstrated that fraud against the NHS would not be tolerated.

It is essential that patients, and the NHS, can have complete trust in their staff
Maggie Worsfold
Counter Fraud Services

In January 2007, fraud staff were asked to investigate NHS 24's suspicions that Clark had been working for NHS Fife while absent from her post due to ill health.

Their investigation discovered that the nurse had worked 15 shifts at Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline and Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, during the period she was claiming sick pay.

Clark pleaded guilty on 9 October to obtaining the money by fraud.

Ms Worsfold said after the case: "Health professionals must act with the highest integrity and honesty.

"It is essential that patients, and the NHS, can have complete trust in their staff.

"CFS has a strong role to play in deterring fraudulent activity, and this case should send a message to the very small minority of NHS staff who may attempt to defraud the NHS that it is never worthwhile."

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