Top GP and Sandwell CCG boss admit 153k fraud – BBC News

Image caption Dr Ian Walton did not spend the money on luxury items or holidays, his barrister said

A leading GP and senior NHS manager funnelled 153,600 meant for patients over winter into the bank account of a company they controlled.

Dr Ian Walton and Lisa Hill admitted defrauding the NHS by raising a false invoice from a charity, on whose board they both sat.

The judge at Birmingham Crown Court heard that although they dishonestly sourced the cash, they spent 57,000 of it training 69 GPs.

They will be sentenced next week.

A further 62,000 found in the charity’s account was said to have been “ring-fenced” for future GP training, leaving about 34,000 in “profit”.

Walton, a GP for more than 30 years, has a national reputation for mental health excellence and his own practice in Tipton, West Midlands, the court heard.

Hill was a senior commissioning manager with Sandwell & West Birmingham clinical commissioning group (CCG).

In December 2012 Hill, from Hagley, near Stourbridge, West Midlands, had submitted a business case to the CCG for GP mental health training.

However, bosses had already decided to divert their cash into the “winter pressures” budget, tackling the seasonal increase in NHS patients in the area.

‘Not spent on holidays’

Health chiefs “never approved the funding” for GP training, but despite that, an invoice for 153,600 from the charity to the CCG was raised in March 2013.

Judge Paul Farrer QC said it was an “unusual” case because Walton, of Stourbridge Road, Wombourne, near Wolverhampton, and Hill had not set out to make money.

Hill lost her CCG job, but has since been employed as a freelance training consultant by NHS trusts.

James Horne, barrister for father-of-four Walton, said the “unusual legacy of the fraud” was “the money was not squandered on luxury items or frittered away on fancy holidays, but has gone on training and the delivery of care in the NHS”.

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