'Dishonest' doctor struck off

AN ESSEX doctor who conned a rich widow out of her home, savings and valuable works of art has been struck off the medical register.And yesterday a health trust sought to distance itself from the actions of Colchester-based Dr David Read, saying his swindling of the pensioner did not happen while he was doing NHS work.

By Roddy Ashworth

AN ESSEX doctor who conned a rich widow out of her home, savings and valuable works of art has been struck off the medical register.

And yesterday a health trust sought to distance itself from the actions of Colchester-based Dr David Read, saying his swindling of the pensioner did not happen while he was doing NHS work.

Dr Read befriended 86-year-old widow Peggy Nash who subsequently “gifted” him with her £850,000 detached Frinton house and named him as the main beneficiary in her will.


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Read, a consultant physician based at the Turner Rise Consulting Rooms and an employee of Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust, had offered to help Mrs Nash with her financial affairs after the death of her husband.

But the kidney expert plundered nearly £70,000 from Mrs Nash's bank account in less than two years, a hearing of the General Medical Council (GMC) heard.

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He used £25,000 of her savings to pay for luxury holidays for him and his family in Madeira, Cyprus and Morocco.

Yesterday an NHS spokesman said: “The case regarding Dr David Read related entirely to his private practice and not in any way to his work for Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust where he has been employed as a consultant physician.

“However, his removal from the medical register requires the trust to consider the profound consequences of this decision and due processes will be followed.”

The GMC hearing was told that after the death of Mrs Nash's husband, Jerry, in December 1998, Read wrote to her GP offering to keep a “closer eye on her mental problems”.

Heather Norton, for the GMC, said: “The relationship extended beyond the professional, as Read took part in areas of Mrs Nash's life that were beyond her medical condition. One area was her finances.”

Carer Maureen Farrance, 64, told the hearing she found “chaos” at Mrs Nash's house after she started looking after the pensioner in December 2004, with “paperwork strewn everywhere” and cheque book stubs written out to Read and his wife.

Giving evidence, Read insisted he always at the widow's interests at heart after the death of her husband.

But the panel ruled that Read, who also specialised in neurology, had abused his doctor-patient relationship to manipulate the pensioner and that his conduct was dishonest.

Read had admitted that he regularly visited Mrs Nash at her home and that he accepted cheques payable on her account for £69,500.

The consultant physician also admitted removing both an Elizabeth Frink statue and John Piper painting from her home.

But he had denied being made aware, on or before, January 27, 2004, that Mrs Nash had arranged to revise her will making him the residual beneficiary of her estate, directing that her property, Long Acre, be gifted to him.

He further denied that Mrs Nash's mental capacity was diminished and deteriorated throughout 2004 and 2005 as a result of her physical illness.

Read had also denied assuming responsibility of Mrs Nash's financial affairs between January 2003 and February 2005.

But the GMC found all matters proved and that his fitness to practice was impaired as he acted dishonestly, inappropriately and abused his professional position.

Panel chairman Dr Alan Montgomery said: “You regularly visited Mrs Nash and knew her to be grieving and socially isolated.

“It (the panel) was satisfied on the evidence that you that you were well aware of her vulnerability and mental frailty. Your conduct was dishonest.”

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