Hazel Donaldson, pictured, had been working at the Manor Practice in Southwick for 30 years when she decided to take £30,000 in the form of a pay rise and overtime payments
A GP practice manager has admitted defrauding patients out of thousands of pounds after helping herself to a pay rise and overtime payments.
Hazel Donaldson had been working at The Manor Practice in Southwick for some 30 years when she decided to take the money without authorisation.
She had pilfered around £30,000 from the NHS to which she was not entitled.
But the 59-year-old was caught out following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which discovered a ‘breach of legal requirements’ when it carried out a routine inspection of the practice in January 2015.
She was charged with fraud last year and appeared at Lewes Crown Court this week.
Jeffrey Lamb, prosecuting, said she had dishonestly abused her position by claiming more overtime hours and two salary increases.
The offences, dated between May 5, 2012, and November 28, 2014, revealed she made about £24,000 from the practice after tax.
Appearing in the dock in a beige mackintosh coat and black dress with a white stripe, she spoke only to confirm her guilt to the two charges, after changing her plea.
Paul Walker, defending, said she was acting as the practice manager at The Manor Practice, at Southwick Street, and had a previously unblemished record.
He said: ‘She would work regular additional hours, which included attending regular evening meetings and coming to work at 8am when the shift started at 8.45am.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) conducted an audit of the Manor Practice in Southwick in January 2015 which discovered the discrepancy over payments
‘She felt that this merited overtime payments, but accepts she had no authorisation for it, and accepts that this amounts to dishonesty.
‘Then as regard her salary, she awarded herself two pay rises of £915 per annum and £920 per annum which was not authorised and was an abuse of her position.’
Mr Walker accepted that while Donaldson could face a custodial sentence, a pre-sentence report should be done by the probation service to allow a judge to decide the best punishment.
Donaldson started working at the Selden Medical Centre, in Seldon Road, Worthing, as the practice manager in 2015 and is still listed as the practice manager there.
Mr Walker said doctors have told of her good conduct and hard work.
Recorder Anthony Chinn QC presided over the hearing and said sentencing for Donaldson, of Rose Walk in Goring, would be delayed until next month.
There will also be a separate hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act in September, with the Crown Prosecution Service set to review her bank and mortgage statements.
Donaldson will next appear at Lewes Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, May 11.