Blackpool Victoria Hospital nurse struck off after claiming £26k in wages for shifts not worked

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A dishonest nurse has been struck off after she was caught falsifying her timesheets to claim £26,000 in wages for dozens of shifts she had not worked.

Francesca Kayleigh Del-Greco, from Preston, was struck off following a misconduct hearing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council on May 24.

The charges arose whilst Miss Del-Greco was employed as an agency nurse by Altrix Nursing Agency at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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It was found that between October 2021 and February 2022, she claimed payment for 77 shifts which she had not worked, signing her own timesheets in the space provided for her ward manager’s signature.

This resulted in Miss Del-Greco being overpaid by £26,154 - an average of £358.23 per shift.

When her timesheets were reviewed, it was found that many of the managers’ signatures were illegible. Some signatures had no discernible name, while other names were unknown to staff.

As an agency nurse, Miss Del-Greco was usually paid within a week of the shifts worked and the agency would then invoice the Trust, but it could be quite sometime later before the Trust would pay the Agency.

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Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Therefore, Miss Del-Greco was able to submit numerous timesheets before any suspicion was raised. But the agency eventually discovered discrepancies with the time sheets she submitted, as the falsified shifts were not recorded on the Agency’s system.

Concerns was raised with hospital management who responded stating they did not recognise the authorising signature on the timesheets.

The agency then explained their concerns to Miss Del-Greco on March 2, 2022 after she made enquiries as to why she was unable to book further shifts.

During the telephone conversation, Miss Del-Greco failed to tell the truth about her deception and instead gave false explanations and claimed to be innocent.

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She was referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and a disciplinary committee concluded that Miss Del-Greco was no longer “fit to practise” nursing due to her dishonesty.

An internal fraud investigation was launched and Miss Del-Greco admitted misconduct.

Sign in sheets, bench (bank) slips, the drugs control log and patients notes were checked but investigators found no evidence that she had worked the 77 shifts.

Miss Del-Greco expressed remorse when she was interviewed under caution on June 12, 2023 and cited ‘personal issues’ as a reason for her conduct. She added she was ashamed of herself and that what she had done was wrong.

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But she told investigators she had spent all the money - more than £26,000 - however, she agreed to repay £200 a month.

There was no financial loss for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust as they had not paid the agency at that time.

At the conclusion of the internal investigation, it was concluded that Miss Del-Greco had committed fraud by false representation but, because the Trust had not paid the agency the money, the matter was not referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council disciplinary panel determined that the appropriate and proportionate sanction was that of a striking-off order.

The report concluded: “Having regard to the effect of Miss Del-Greco’s actions in bringing the nursing profession into disrepute by adversely affecting the public’s view of how a registered nurse should conduct herself, the panel has concluded that nothing short of a striking-off order would be sufficient in this case.

“The panel considered that this order was necessary to mark the importance of maintaining public confidence in the profession, and to send to the public and the profession a clear message about the standards of behaviour expected and required of a registered nurse.”

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was approached for comment.

Last week, Blackpool Vic’s head of cardiovascular surgery was charged with 14 counts of sexual assault on hospital colleagues.

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