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Practice manager faces jail over £100,000 theft

7 August 2007

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A practice manager who stole more than £100,000 from her surgery has been told by a court she faces a jail sentence.

Dawn Susan Beynon, 45, pleaded guilty to taking money 33 times between 2003 and last year.

On one occasion alone in May 2006, she took £13,000 from the practice.

The cash has since been repaid to the Margaret Street Surgery in Ammanford, West Wales, Swansea Crown Court heard.

But Judge Michael Burr said it is “almost inevitable” that Ms Beynon, from Swansea, will face a prison term.

Geraint Walters, prosecuting, said: “This defendant stole monies from her employers – doctors at the Margaret Street Surgery, Ammanford – over a period approaching three years.”

Patrick Griffiths, mitigating, said: “She has come to court knowing, as she has known all along, that she is going to receive a custodial sentence.”

The case was adjourned for sentencing next month.

The NHS Counter Fraud and Security team began an investigation into the practice’s finances back in February this year.

Allegations of financial misconduct were also probed by Dyfed-Powys Police that later led to a criminal investigation, culminating in the successful prosecution.

The NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service

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Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

“Could we name and shame the acountancy firm that did not spot this fraud?” – Name and address supplied

“And we wonder why our PCTs are looking at financial governance as part of GMS2. PMs – unless partners – should NEVER sign cheques etc. Internet and telephone banking with PMs authorised to make transactions is a similar “no-no”. Write a robust protocol with advice from your accountant and local fraud squad (police or NHS) and then stick to it. What is worrying in this case is that it took place over 3 years before it was detected” – Alan Moore, Ellesmere Port

“All practice managers should ensure that there is a full audit trail for all financial matters. It is disappointing that a practice manager would do such a thing to her employers irrespective of what personal pressures she may be under. I think that practices should be under inspection like banks are, including inspection of the GP practices within the surgery” – Name and address supplied
“I certainly don’t feel under greater scrutiny. I have policies and procedures in place that cover me against any fraud allegations. I always ensure that I have a 6-monthly meeting with one of the partners to go over the finances” – S Jezzard, Lancashire

“Three months ago I joined a practice as their mangager. I came from a background of social care management and staff were all subject to an enhanced CRB check. I was surprised to learn that staff at the practice (apart from GPs) do not have to do this. With staff dealing with the public, having access to varying levels of personal data and in our case handling and dispensing drugs. I would have thought this was essential. Whilst this may not pick all levels of criminal activity, it may assist in minimising it and help safeguard both the practice and the public. Also every practice manager would also be well advised to have a system of segregated duties where no one person controls everything and there is a process to control financial and other transactions” – Name and address supplied