Surgeon who lied is jailed
A SURGEON who took more than £15,000 in sick pay from an Essex health trust while working as a hospital doctor elsewhere has been jailed.Dr Juama Baldar also lied about his age, places of study and work history to get high-ranking hospital posts at a number of medical centres across the United Kingdom, Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday .
A SURGEON who took more than £15,000 in sick pay from an Essex health trust while working as a hospital doctor elsewhere has been jailed.
Dr Juama Baldar also lied about his age, places of study and work history to get high-ranking hospital posts at a number of medical centres across the United Kingdom, Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday .
An Iraqi by birth, Baldar also lied to get a job as senior house officer at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford where he worked between December 2000 and July 2001 before breaking his ankle during a charity hockey match.
But while receiving sick pay from the hospital, he was working for West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust and University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust.
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Judge Charles Gratwicke yesterday sentenced Baldar to 15 months in jail after the 42-year-old doctor admitted nine counts of obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception and a further offence of obtaining a money transfer by deception.
Judge Gratwicke told Baldar, who, despite doubts as to exactly where he obtained his medical qualifications in Iraq, did pass his Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons examinations, that honesty was a vital part in ensuring the NHS had the highest calibre of staff, both in terms of their medical knowledge and in terms of their characters.
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He said: “These were deliberate offences by a trusted employee. There were many lies and you also lied to cover up your dishonesty.”
The judge described Baldar's CV as “riddled with lies” because he had claimed he was five years younger than he was, to have studied at a more prestigious university than he had in fact attended, to have been on course that did not exist and to be working in hospitals when he was, in fact, out of work and applying for asylum in the UK.
Mitigating for Baldar, now of Southall in Middlesex, Charles Bott said his client had lied because he feared not getting work if employers knew his actual age or the fact he had spent periods of time unemployed.
He said in Iraq Baldar - whose family includes both Kurds and Jews - was imprisoned, tortured and subjected to a mock execution.
He added: “He lied because he was a fool. When you live under a regime in which the truth doesn't matter you do get into the habit of telling lies.”
Baldar, who was granted asylum in 1998 and full British citizenship in 1999, now faces disciplinary action by the General Medical Council.
His jail sentence came in the wake of a lengthy investigation by the NHS's Counter Fraud and Security Management Service.
Frank Ginnelly, the service's operational manager for the east of England, said: “Although no evidence has come to light to suggest that patients were put at risk by Dr Baldar's actions, it is completely unacceptable to falsify information in order to gain employment within the NHS.”