I WAS furious after reading the article about Ms Watkinson, the director of pharmacy at Hinchingbrooke Hospital (September 10). I find it an utter disgrace that someone in her position should be able to get away with such a dishonest act, especially by so

I WAS furious after reading the article about Ms Watkinson, the director of pharmacy at Hinchingbrooke Hospital (September 10). I find it an utter disgrace that someone in her position should be able to get away with such a dishonest act, especially by someone that has ended up in such a position of responsibility.

I also cannot believe that, although the PhD was not a necessary qualification for the post, the hospital failed to check whether the qualification was legitimate or not, especially in light of the fact that she went on to call herself Dr Watkinson in the workplace and registered as such on the Research Ethics Committee. How ethical is to lie about your qualifications?

I recently applied for a position with the county council, and a PhD was certainly not a qualification that was required for the post, and yet they still insisted on my providing original certificates as proof of the legitimacy of my qualifications. Does the NHS not feel it worthwhile making these checks?

Ms Watkinson is quoted as feeling foolish that she was taken in by the fake university, one that was supposedly based and accredited in Liberia (an African state). Did she not find it strange that an African university that was supposedly offering distance learning courses in America was not actually accredited in America?

She claims to have had honourable intentions, wanting recognition for earlier research work. Anyone who has studied in the UK at a proper university and gained a degree or other qualification fully understands what it takes to go on to study for a PhD. I did: it took another three years of dedicated research and a lot of personal sacrifice to gain my PhD, and not just a few published research papers. Therefore, anyone buying a qualification online from an overseas institution to which they have had no previous academic connection knows exactly what they are doing, and they also know that it is not legitimate for them to do so.

If Ms Watkinson did not need the PhD for her job, why did she then seek to buy one in 2003, and then ask for it also to be back dated to 1985? Why did she not simply return to the university where she did the research work and ask for the recognition that she obviously thought she deserved?

Because she must have already known that the work did not merit the award of a higher degree since they would have given her one in 1985 already.

She says that there are only a few cases on public record that she has used the title of doctor, but she has done so, and at those times she was not telling the truth. How can she face all those colleagues and be afforded any level of trust and be allowed to carry on working in the same way, when she has deceived so many people for so long?

She should be removed from her post immediately. In America, where there have been many similar cases, there have been several resignations by people working in the public sector who bought their qualifications from St Regis University or one of its twin operations.

Doing my own research on the internet, it did not take me more than 30 seconds to find out that in 2003 the founders of the so called St Regis University was already the subject of investigation by the authorities for fraudulent activities.

Strangely, the school had come into existence while a disastrous civil war destroyed much of Liberia, including its national university. How could SRU offer a distance learning program in a country without electrical power?

So in 2003 when Ms Watkinson was searching the web for somewhere to buy her PhD did she not come across any of this other information?

Dr MARTIN McMAHON (PhD)

Chaucer Way

St Ives