Woman ordered stop smoking packs for dead patients, court hears (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Woman ordered stop smoking packs for dead patients, court hears
A HARD-UP hospital worker used the names of dead people to swindle the National Health Service out of more than £10,000.
Pharmacy technician Sian Newsam ordered hundreds of stop-smoking packs for patients who were oblivious to her activities.
A court heard yesterday that some of the people had never been assessed, some were non-smokers and others had passed away.
Newsam's lawyer claimed that she had no idea of the status of the patients, and was "incredibly upset" to learn some were dead.
It is not known what the 34-year-old did with the nicotine inhalers and patches - but her ten-month con cost the NHS £10,346.
Judge John Walford described the fraud as "a clumsy way of covering her tracks" when Newsam appeared at Teesside Crown Court.
Rachel Dyson, mitigating, said the mother-of-one started stealing when her partner was unable to work after having a heart attack.
Miss Dyson told Judge Walford: "If she were to receive an immediate custodial sentence, this would have a massive knock-on effect with her daughter.
"Given her partner's health problems, he is unlikely to be full-time carer for their four-year-old daughter.
"She expresses genuine remorse and regret."
Newsam, of Braebourne Gardens, Middlesbrough, admitted fraud and was given a 12-month suspended prison term.
Judge Walford told her she was being spared jail because a spell behind bars would have a "profound" impact on her family.
Instead, he ordered that she should undergo supervision for two years and do 120 hours of unpaid work for the community.
Newsam had been employed by the South Tees NHS Foundation Trust since 2004 before starting her fraud in April 2011.
Discrepancies in stock levels at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough sparked an investigation.
Miss Dyson said: "She was highly thought-of at the time before these offences. She realises that is something she has completely lost."