GP surgery fraudster must pay £10,000 compensation

The former business manager of a busy doctor's surgery who betrayed his employers has avoided an immediate jail term.

Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 1:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 2:20 pm
North Shore surgery

Michael Germaine, 55, of Mellor Road, Kirkham, near Preston, entered guilty pleas to a string of five fraudulent offences, but had his 50 week prison term suspended for a year by Preston Magistrates' Court.

The bench, who called his conduct a "breach of trust", heard how Germaine had made unwarranted claims for overtime, and had even edited and forwarded an email claiming he was entitled to £5,000 in bonus payments from his employers.

Germaine made payments from Bispham's North Shore Surgery's bank account for bonus payments that he had already received, and making payments to a woman from their account.

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In addition he is alleged to have edited and forwarded an email indicating he was entitled to a greater salary increase than what was agreed, and to payment for undertaken annual leave.

However an allegation he made payments to his personal bank account for an advance in salary for which he was not entitled was dropped.

Preston Magistrates' Court ordered him to pay £10,000 compensation and £85 prosecution costs after he admitted two counts of fraud by false representation and three of fraud by abusing his position.

The offences relate to a period from October 2015 to January 2017 while he occupied the position of Business Director and was expected to safeguard the financial interests of North Shore Surgery.

The GPs and staff declined to comment.

The Care Quality Commission inspected the surgery, based in the Moor Park Health and Leisure Centre, Bristol Avenue, Bispham, in July 2015.

At that inspection, the GP practice was rated ‘good’ overall but the CQC found the practice to require improvement for the 'Safe' criteria because it was not meeting the requirements of Regulation 19 of the Health & Social Care Act 2008 in relation to fit and proper persons employed.

However, in March 2016 the surgery was rated good again after inspectors found it had implemented systems to ensure that all staff recruited and employed by the practice had been subject to thorough pre-employment procedures.