A recruitment consultant who made changes to CVs of doctors to secure them jobs has been found guilty and given a suspended sentence.
Ross Etherson, 34 of South London, admitted 21 counts of making or supplying articles for use in fraud at Isleworth Crown Court, where the judge said it was “purely down to luck” that the health of patients had not been affected.
Judge Robin Johnson said that the company, Midas Medical encouraged staff to embellish foreign doctors’ and that Etherson had been drawn into a “culture of deceit” at the firm in Chiswick, where he worked from May 2009 until being arrested in April 2010.
“While the counts on the indictment enabled the agency to claim £37,000 in fees, the seriousness of this fraud is that doctors were being placed where their experience was less than claimed on their CVs,” he told the court.
“The man that is in the dock is at the lowest end of responsibility for this criminal conduct,” he added.
“No-one else has, to my knowledge, even been arrested, let alone tried for this shameful practice.”
The agency charged up to £120 an hour for the doctors’ services, whilst the doctors themselves, who qualified abroad, were being paid as little as £15 an hour.
The scheme was found when a clinical services manager at Lincoln County Hospital and Grantham District Hospital reported concerns about some locum doctors’ CVs and references to the NHS Counter-Fraud Service.
On the basis of Etherson’s misleading documents, seven locum doctors were employed by United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust and Western Sussex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, with the doctors were unaware of the scam.
Once the fraud was discovered the doctors were either supervised, given reduced responsibilities or released from their contracts.