A FORMER Little Paxton GP, who was jailed two years ago for a quarter-million-pound prescription fraud has been forced to repay more than £1million to the NHS. Ranchod Patel, 58, a dispensing GP whose surgery almost closed after the fraud came to light, m
A FORMER Little Paxton GP, who was jailed two years ago for a quarter-million-pound prescription fraud has been forced to repay more than £1million to the NHS.
Ranchod Patel, 58, a dispensing GP whose surgery almost closed after the fraud came to light, made in the region of 20,000 false prescription claims to the NHS, earning at least £15,000 per month for two to three years, Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust said on Monday.
Dispensing GPs, like pharmacists, can claim money from the NHS for dispensing medication to patients.
The PCT estimated that, from his list of 2,300 patients, Patel used the details of around 300 to issue prescriptions and make claims without their knowledge.
He pleaded guilty to 15 specimen counts of false accounting on July 15, 2005 and was later jailed for two years.
In February of that year, the NHS Counter Fraud Service, on behalf of the then Huntingdonshire PCT (now part of Cambridgeshire PCT) and Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority, applied to have Patel's assets frozen to ensure the money defrauded could not be disposed of prior to the civil recovery.
He removed himself from the medical register before the criminal case reached court.
Chris Banks, chief executive at Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust said, after the NHS successfully sued: "I am absolutely delighted that such a substantial sum of money has been recovered. This is excellent news for the NHS and gives a strong message that fraud within the NHS will not be tolerated."
Dermid McCausland, acting managing director of the NHS Counter Fraud Service, said: "This is a significant victory in the fight against NHS fraud. Ranchod Patel committed a substantial fraud and consequently he has received substantial punishment.
"We believe the action in the case will demonstrate to patients, staff and potential fraudsters that we will not allow the NHS to be stripped of its resources. Following the investigation by the fraud team, he has now been jailed, lost his job and his career and had to pay back the money he stole.
"Following recovery, the money is reinvested back into frontline services and spent where it was intended to be spent - patient care.