UK: Zim nurse struck off for claiming £50,000 over two years for shifts she didn’t work
By The Mirror UK
UNITED KINGDOM: A nurse has been struck off for a £50,000 overtime scam.
Patience Machingauta pocketed the cash over two years after claiming for shifts she didn’t work at the country’s top-rated A&E. A disciplinary panel found she had fraudulently received pay for 144 bogus shifts between 2017 and 2019 at Luton and Dunstable Hospital in Bedfordshire.
Its A&E treats 18,000 patients a month, and at the time of her swindle was visited by MPs as a shining example to other hospitals after figures showed it was the best performing in England.
Health investigators saw evidence Machingauta had been cheating the NHS since 2015 – a decade after she qualified as a nurse. A Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing was told she had computer access to the staffing system.
When she moved to another department she continued to claim using a colleague’s login. She was rumbled when a senior sister spotted discrepancies in the online roster compared to handwritten entries in the emergency department’s diary.
When Machingauta was confronted about five shifts she had claimed for in January 2019, she said she had been doing training rather than working in A&E.
However, health chiefs were not convinced and an investigation found she had claimed for “ghost shifts” that were then removed so that there was no trace of them within the system.
Machingauta said she could not explain why her name did not appear in the paper diary when it was on the online rota. She also claimed she had not noticed the “over-payments” in her bank account
However, Machingauta later admitted a “genuine error”. She also agreed to repay £36,702 to the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and was sacked.
Machingauta did not appear before the panel but said in a letter: “I accept what I did was really wrong and I understand the seriousness of this case. I have humiliated myself and lost a good reputation. I cannot express enough how remorseful I am for what I did.”
The NMC disciplinary panel ruled: “Mrs Machingauta was well aware she was dishonestly booking shifts that she had not worked. Mrs Machingauta had done this for significant personal financial gain and that she took conscious steps to cover her tracks.”
When approached at home, she declined to comment.
The case was referred to the NHS Counter Fraud Authority but the Trust said it was unaware of any criminal action and declined to comment further.