Doctor admits defrauding NHS out of £24k in ‘wages’

Royal Preston Hospital
Royal Preston Hospital

A hospital doctor from the Ribble Valley has pleaded guilty to defrauding the NHS of nearly £24,000.

John Coffey, of Goose Lane, Chipping, worked as a consultant radiologist at the Royal Preston Hospital, responsible for reviewing and reporting on a variety of medical scans. He was not contracted to study plain film scans from standard x-rays as part of his job plan. But he agreed to do so at a rate of £4 per film, outside his working hours (after 5pm) to help his department to clear a waiting list backlog.

But the already highly-paid 53-year-old cooked up an audacious plan for an unearned, unapproved bonus at the taxpayers’ expense. He was eventually caught out after the hospital noticed an anomaly in his financial claims.

Sue Frith, managing director of NHS Protect, said: “John Coffey abused his position of trust as a Consultant Radiologist to defraud the NHS of nearly £24,000. That much could have paid a nurse for a year.”

Karen Swindley, workforce and education director of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We take extremely seriously our responsibilities to ensure public money is spent wisely and in accordance with the law and with our policies.” Coffey was investigated by Local Counter Fraud Specialists Claire Smallman and Simon Regan, with support from the national level counter-fraud body, NHS Protect. He will be sentenced on Friday, March 3rd.