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Preston nurse lied about working 77 shifts to rake in £26k over four months

Posted on - 11th June, 2024 - 5:07pm | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Health, People, Preston News
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital

A nurse who signed in to 77 shifts she never did and pocketed £26k of unearned wages has been struck off.

Francesca Del-Greco, from Preston, submitted dozens of false time-sheets over a four-month-period while working agency shifts at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. Del-Greco falsely signed to authorise those shifts but was caught out when the agency noticed the discrepancy.

She initially denied the misconduct when challenged by Altrix Nursing Agency, before later admitting it during misconduct proceedings. However, a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Fitness to Practise Committee found she “failed to demonstrate any insight on the impact of her conduct”.

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Del-Greco claimed to have worked the shifts between October 2022 and February 2023, before being caught out when the agency management did not recognise the authorising signature she had fraudulently signed. The subsequent investigation revealed the extent of the dishonesty and just how much money had been made. 

According to the NMC investigation, the payments amounted to an average £350 per shift which would have cost the NHS £410 per shift. However, the trust had not yet made the payments to the agency as it processes these at a slower rate.

Del-Greco told investigators she had spent all the money amassed during the months of dishonesty. She had offered to repay it at £200 per month but some of those payments have been missed.

The panel agreed that Del-Greco’s actions amounted to gross misconduct and that the only appropriate punishment was to ban her from the profession. It described her actions as “extremely unprofessional”, noting “they would be seen as deplorable by other members of the profession and members of the public” and that she likely would have carried on her scam had the internal audit had not been conducted.

It concluded: “The panel noted that whilst Miss Del-Greco had shown remorse and apologised for her actions during the Trust’s investigation and interview, she had initially denied the allegations during the internal audit of the Agency and had sought to provide justifications for her conduct.

“The panel further noted that Miss Del-Greco failed to demonstrate any insight on the impact of her conduct on the Agency, the Trust, the nursing profession and the wider public. It was concerned that Miss Del-Greco did not demonstrate any understanding of the seriousness of her misconduct, nor did she provide any information about detailed steps she would take to prevent such a situation reoccurring in the future.”

A Counter Fraud Specialist at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust concluded that Del-Greco had committed fraud by false representation but the matter was not referred to the Crown Prosecution Service because the money had not been paid by the trust.

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