A senior NHS hospital manager, who gained his job by falsely stating he had a degree, has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years for fraud against the NHS (Oxford Crown Court, 23rd January 2020).
Peter Knight was a Director on the Board of Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust, serving as its Chief Information and Digital Officer from August 2016 until his resignation in September 2018.
He has been ordered by the court to complete 30 hours of rehabilitation and 200 hours of unpaid work.
The locally-led fraud investigation began after an anonymous tipoff was reported by OUH’s Chief Finance Officer to the Trust’s Local Counter Fraud Specialist (LCFS).
All of the Trust’s executive and non–executive directors’ files had been updated in November 2017 as part of its duties under the fit and proper persons checks. However, when checked during the investigation, Knight’s HR file did not contain a copy of the degree certificate he had claimed to have.
Possessing a relevant degree was not formally an essential requirement for applicants: those with "at least ten years’ experience in senior management positions within sizable organisations" could apply without one.
Knight pleaded guilty at his first appearance on 3rd December 2019 at Oxford Magistrates Court.Sue Frith, CEO of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, said today:
"Today’s sentencing of Peter Knight for fraud against the NHS is a reminder that the law and the rules apply to all in the NHS. Anyone who obtains an NHS job through lying is committing fraud. Any suspicion of fraud against the NHS should be reported via our fraud and corruption reporting line, either online or by telephone."
Notes to Editors
- For more details visit the website www.cfa.nhs.uk
- NHS Counter Fraud Authority is a Special Health Authority established under the NHS Act 2006 as amended.
- When NHSCFA uses the term 'fraud', we refer to a range of economic crimes, such as fraud, bribery, corruption or any other illegal acts committed by an individual or group of individuals to obtain a financial or professional gain.
- NHSCFA will also support the work of the NHS Counter Fraud Service (Wales).
- NHSCFA will work closely with NHS Local Counter Fraud Specialists across the NHS in England to ensure that healthcare crime is tackled and a culture of fraud prevention and deterrence is in place.
- There are some 300 professionally trained and accredited Local Counter Fraud Specialists in place within health bodies across England and Wales.
- Crimestoppers is an independent charity