A manager of a Nottinghamshire GP practice has been jailed after defrauding them of nearly £200,000.
The court heard that, as part of his managerial role at the Rainworth Medical Practice, Leigh Nash was responsible for and the only person to have access to the surgery bank account.
He was subsequently required to account for all spending from the surgery bank account as well as find temporary, or ‘locum’, doctors to fill gaps in staffing whilst the surgery was recruiting.
Whilst accounting for the spending, he would choose to print out the bank statements and write down what each of the transactions were for.
A number of these were logged as ‘locum’ and, when asked, he would inform accountants that this was for a locum agency where he was filling gaps in staffing.
However, during a review of the 2019 to 2020 finances, some anomalies were found on the business account, including an unexpectedly high spend on ‘locums’.
This was then investigated further, with appointment systems being checked to cross reference and clarify the number of locum sessions that had actually been used.
This figure came back showing the actual cost was around £28,000 for that period, which was significantly different to the details Nash had provided on the account.
An HR agency was brought in to investigate internally and as part of this conducted an interview with Nash, who had been in the role since 2017.
It was during this interview he confirmed that he had made transfers into his own bank account, and in December 2020 he was arrested and interviewed as a police investigation began.
When totalled up, the funds transferred by Nash into his own bank account totalled nearly £200,000.
Appearing at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday 20 July 2021, the 45-year-old of Woodhorn Close, Arnold, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position.
Detective Constable Natalie Stokes, who led the investigation, said: “This was an appalling abuse of the trust and responsibility which was placed on Nash as part of his role.
“He blatantly used his access and power as a manager to benefit himself and left the practice short of money which should have been used to fund and bolster extremely important medical care.
“The court result is a really positive outcome and its absolutely right that Nash will be serving a significant sentence. We hope the time he spends behind bars will give him an opportunity to consider and reflect on his actions.
“Nottinghamshire Police will always take robust action when it comes to cases of fraud and financial abuse. We hope this sentence deters others from committing similar crimes and also gives victims the confidence to come forward, report these crimes and be reassured of the action we will take on these reports.”
An NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG spokesperson said: “The CCG has been supporting partners and staff at Rainworth Medical Practice following this incident. We would like to reassure the public that staff at the practice have provided the same high-quality care to their patients throughout this period and will continue to do so following the closure of this case.”