When it comes to roles and professions that people have a lot of respect for, it is understandable that many people will place doctors at the top of the list. This is a very noble profession and the fact that so many people owe their lives or good health to these medical professionals makes sure that they will always be rated highly. There is a great deal of pressure on doctors and there is a need for a considerable amount of knowledge and studying to get into this role. This is why there is good money on offer for doctors, even if there is even more money to be made by working abroad or working in private practice. There are some jobs where people will moan about the high wages on offer but equally, for roles like doctors, many people will agree that the high income is acceptable and understandable.
However, news that one doctor has been caught trying to swindle thousands of pounds from the NHS by fraudulent means will greatly annoy a lot of people. It is well known that there is not enough money in the NHS to go around as it is, so any act of fraud must be dealt with severely. The fact that so many people will think that doctors are well paid for the work they carry out will mean that they have no sympathy for this sort of the crime. Thirumurugan Sundaresan undertook a fraud that had the value of £14,000 after claiming that he provided treatment to patients who had already passed away. This fraud enabled his practice to gain access to additional bonus payments that are made available to practices by stating that he had worked with patients that he had not actually seen.
In the end, it seems as though greed was his downfall as NHS fraud investigators uncovered a grand fraud. The doctor was responsible for making more than 7,600 amendments to the records of patients at his practice. What was more worrying was that this activity was undertaken in just 4 days! The investigation uncovered anomalies like a claim that one patient was seen while the actual patient was in prison and two patients had received consultations despite being dead. There was also a claim made for a flu jab being given to a patient who was out of the country at the time on holiday. The investigation uncovered that a total of 1,700 patients had their records manipulated by Sunderesan.
The doctor received a 9 month jail sentence which was suspended for a period of 18 months. The court also found that the Manchester doctor should pay £50,000 in costs. The fraudulent activity was carried out around the team of Easter in 2008 as there was a bonus scheme running for doctors and practices that showcased a high level of patient care. The records were altered to indicate that patients were being sent for smear tests, receiving jabs for flu or were receiving retinal screening which is often crucial in saving the sight of patients that are suffering from diabetes. These are all important tests and there have been targets imposed on doctors in recent times, which means that a practice that shows they are meeting these targets will be considered as doing a great job.
While these findings have left a mark on the career of the doctor, who admitted the two counts of fraud, Sundaresan still retains his licence to practice as a doctor. The work was undertaken over the long weekend of Easter in 2008 and the practice partner was off on maternity leave. Over the weekend, Sundaresan roped in an IT employee and a junior doctor to assist with the data inputting work. When the scale of the fraud was uncovered, the doctor tried to place the blame on to the IT technician and also blamed the fact that there were coding errors in the system of the computer.
Many people will take the act that the NHS was defrauded out of much needed funds as being the most serious element of this crime. There is no doubt that people take a dim view on any crime involving the NHS and the fact that it was carried out by a prominent doctor will make this crime worse for many people.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professional for 8 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.