Hospital IT manager jailed after seven-year £800k scam exposed

A nurse has been suspended following an incident at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford Picture: ARCHA

Barry Stannard was an IT manager at the NHS trust responsible for Chelmsford's Broomfield Hospital - Credit: Archant

A former IT manager who cheated the NHS out of £800,000 that was "destined for patients" has been jailed for more than five years.

Barry Stannard, of Chelmsford but previously of Hadleigh, Suffolk, appeared in court last month to admit two counts of fraud by false representation and two counts of cheating the public revenue.

The offences happened while Stannard was working as a senior manager for the Mid Essex Hospital Trust (MEHT).

The 53-year-old was head of unified communications at MEHT, which merged into the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust in April 2020.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that concerns arose after the trust ran a data-matching exercise on its payroll and 'accounts payable' records, alongside Companies House records.

Stannard had submitted a ‘nil return’ declaration of interests form to MEHT - but an investigation revealed he was actually the director of two companies that had received money from the trust between 2012 and 2019.

While Stannard siphoned money into his own pocket, no products or services invoiced for by these firms were ever provided to the NHS.

On the invoices that were submitted, Stannard also charged for £132,000 in VAT that was never forwarded to HMRC.

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The VAT registration number quoted was false and related to another legitimate company.

The total amount defrauded over a seven-year period totalled £806,229.80.

Judge Tim Walker told Stannard that money "destined for patients.. went into your own bank accounts" before sentencing him to five years and four months in jail on Wednesday.

Sue Frith, chief executive of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA), which led the investigation, said: "Barry Stannard abused his position in an outrageous way to line his pockets with money intended for NHS services.

"We are aware of the significant risk that procurement fraud poses for the NHS, which is why the NHS Counter Fraud Authority has been continually working to develop fraud prevention solutions over the last few years.

"Today’s sentence shows that the NHSCFA’s investigative and preventative work tackling NHS fraud is vital.

"If you suspect NHS fraud, please report your concerns to us through either our online reporting form, or by calling our fraud and corruption reporting line."

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