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Professional Regulation

Nurses sentenced for falsely claiming £73,000 in wages from NHS

The nurse who appeared to have signed the timesheet to authorise the payment did not exist.

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Five agency nurses have been sentenced for falsely claiming £73,000 from the NHS for work they did not do.

Charles Elad, 46, from Milton Keynes, worked as a recruitment officer at ID Medical recruited a number of temporary workers including registered nurse Violet Nhende.

Mr Elad enlisted Ms Nhende and healthcare assistants George Kiberu, Abosede Amusan, Ernest Anonyo and Rilindis Bessem to a number of fraudulent timesheets to the recruitment agency –  who say they were unaware of the fraudulent activity taking place.

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A number of NHS hospitals were targeted; Scunthorpe General Hospital, Royal Blackburn Hospital and Darlington Hospital – culminating in a total loss of £72,991, according to the NHS Counter Fraud Authority.

The fraud was discovered when an NHS worker questioned an unsolicited invoice and raised the matter with NHS Counter Fraud Authority to investigate.

Hundreds of timesheets.

The investigation team were able to identify hundreds of suspicious timesheets which had been falsified. On some occasions, the nurse who appeared to have signed the timesheet to authorise the payment did not exist.

The nurses paid Charles Elad a share of the proceeds and Tanyi Esekanh Elad allowed her bank account to be used to facilitate these payments.

Richard Rippin, Head of Operations at the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, said he was “delighted with the outcome of this investigation”.

“All seven conspired to deliberately defraud multiple NHS organisations”.

“They had been employed to care for NHS patients, but instead took resources away from patient care for their own personal gain.

“It sends a message to anyone under the mistaken impression that NHS funds are an easy target for fraud, that they will be caught”.

Nurses are in a position of trust.

Nicola Wheeler, from the CPS, said: “Nurses are in a position of trust when working in our hospitals but in this case, each abused that trust fraudulently to claim money which was ultimately extracted from the NHS.

“Charles Elad was the driving force behind this fraud but these nurses played an important part in providing their names and details to complete the timesheets and split the proceeds with him.

“The CPS presented evidence that showed each defendant was aware that the timesheets they were submitting were false and were in regular contact with Charles Elad to send his share.”

The NHS Counter Fraud Authority says it is now trying to recover the funds and the matter will be referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

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Professional Regulation

NMC launches an emotional support helpline for staff involved in fitness to practise cases

The helpline is part of the NMC’s bid to become a “person-centred” regulator.

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The helpline will provide emotional and practical support for staff involved in the fitness to practise processes.

Nurses, midwives and nursing associates involved in fitness to practise can now benefit from a new, free and confidential support service.

The NMC’s Careline, operated by an independent provider, will provide emotional and practical support is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for nurses and midwives across the UK, and nursing associates in England, who are involved in the fitness to practise processes.

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Staff can contact the service via phone, live chat or email, to discuss concerns with specially trained counsellors who are experienced in handling sensitive topics.

Launching less than a year since the NMC set up its support service for members of the public who raise concerns when things go wrong with their nursing or midwifery care, the 12-month CareLine pilot launched on World Mental Health day.

Becoming a ‘person-centred’ regulator.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, said: “Following the launch last year of our Public Support Service for people affected by poor nursing or midwifery care, I’m really pleased we’re now able to offer this new pilot resource for professionals.

“The Careline marks another important step forward in truly humanising how we operate and becoming the person-centred professional regulator that the NMC is determined to be with everyone we interact with.

“Less than one per cent of around 700,000 professionals on our register are engaged in our fitness to practise procedures, but we know that it can have a profound effect on those that are. The impact on someone’s physical and mental wellbeing as a result of being under such scrutiny mustn’t go unrecognised.

“I hope the Careline, and our forthcoming remediation guidance, further encourages support and learning when things do go wrong in nursing and midwifery care. Together, let’s help ensure that all those involved in our processes are treated with kindness and respect.”

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Professional Regulation

NMC to ensure overseas nurses can ‘join the register quickly as possible’

Overseas nurses will now be able to apply to join the register through an online system.

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council say they have streamlined the process for overseas nurses.

From today, nurses and midwives applying to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register will now be able to apply through an online system allowing them to track their progress instantly.

This follows a number of changes in recent years made by the NMC to better support applicants through the registration process, which included allowing candidates to only re-sit only the portion of an OSCE they failed, improved preparation materials including a mock examination and marking criteria and updated English language requirements.

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As part of the professional regulator’s commitment to improving its approach to overseas registration, the latest changes have been designed to offer a more efficient and streamlined experience and help ensure qualified nursing and midwifery professionals can get into practice where they are needed.

‘Join the UK workforce as quickly as possible’.

According to the NMC, these changes will ensure that highly-skilled nursing and midwifery professionals can join the UK workforce as quickly as possible in order to carry out their role of delivering better, safer care for people using health and care services.

Emma Broadbent, Director of Registration and Revalidation at the NMC, said: “We have listened to people’s feedback and I’m pleased to announce that from today nurses, midwives and nursing associates from abroad will benefit from this improved process.

“We want to make sure that those who meet our requirements are able to join our register as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are hopeful that by simplifying the application process, we will continue to make the UK an attractive option for those coming from abroad.

“This is another example of how the NMC is committed to positively addressing nursing and midwifery shortages that exist in health services, adult social care services and within local communities across the UK.”

Making nurses ‘feel as welcome as possible’.

The NMC says it has seen a significant increase – rising from 2,720 last year to 6,157 in March this year – in the number of nurses and midwives joining the register for the first time from outside of the EU.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “Nursing and midwifery is at the heart of our NHS and the social care sector, and it is important that we make those joining the health service, whether from at home or abroad, feel as welcome as possible.

“With an increasing number of applicants from around the world, this secure and efficient online service from the NMC will make it quicker for highly trained midwives, nurses and nursing associates to be able to provide compassionate care to their patients.”

“My grandmother worked in the NHS as a nurse, and I so know just how much commitment nurses put in to caring for their patients every day and night.”

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