A former manager of GP practices in Dover and London was last week (7 May 2010) jailed for four and a half years at Canterbury Crown Court for taking more than £300,000 in multiple theft and fraud offences.
Debbie Sadler, 42, of Ashford, Kent, was found to have abused her trusted position as Practice Manager at Pencester Medical Centre, Dover, stealing £207,791.00 from her employers. She also fraudently earned more than £93,000 at this and other practices. She pleaded guilty to 27 of 30 charges.
Confiscation orders are now being sought.
One of the GPs Ms Sadler worked for at the Pencester practice suspected fraud, and reported their concerns to the NHS Counter Fraud Service in June 2008.
After receiving a tax demand for the practice, Ms Sadler took two days off work, during which her colleagues started to examine the finances. They found several irregularities, including a ghost employee, and Ms Sadler was dismissed. Kent police arrested and interviewed her.
Further investigations revealed that Ms Sadler had found a new job while on police bail, as a practice manager at the Albion Health Centre in Whitechapel Road, London. To obtain this position, she had forged her references in the name of a GP at the Pencester Medical Centre.
When they learned of this in July 2008, The Albion Health Centre immediately dismissed her.
On 15 October 2009, Ms Sadler was charged with multiple offences of theft and fraud. It then emerged she had been employed since March 2009 as maternity cover for the practice manager at The Keats Group Practice in Hampstead, London, and had lined up her next job at the Prince of Wales Group Practice in Kentish Town, London.
As a result, Ms Sadler was charged with a further three offences of fraud.
Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply):
"Yes and no, this wasn't the first time she has been caught and cautioned for this type of offence although it wasn't reported at the time. Had they taken the time to check on her it would have come to light. However, saying that she was a very unassuming kind of person, had you met her or even worked with her you would not have expected she could do something like that" – Georgina Black, Epsom
"Fraud can only occur if strict policies are not in place in the first instance. As a practice manager I refuse to be a signatory on any cheque books and several people at my instigation are involved in payroll so it is overviewed etc. Temptation was put there and as a result it happened – is it really HER fault – I don't know!!!" – Michele Fildes, Burton on Trent