So, another tale from my time working for professional medical support/indemnity services in the UK.
I was answering the phone on our help line (for members of our organisation needing advice/assistance/guidance for matters arising from their professional practice)
An older doctor came on the line and described something relating to prescribing that he had been doing for some time (I won’t go into huge detail because it’s a bit complicated and relates to how prescribing works in the NHS)
To cut a long story short, he went through a very long explanation of what he had been doing (which essentially amounted to fraud, although only for relatively small amounts of money). I was a bit surprised to be honest (though not that surprised given the torrent of weird stuff we used to end up being called about.
Before I could comment any further, he went on to tell me that he had recently been audited by what was then called the Family Health Service Authority (FHSA). As a result he had just been called by the FHSA to tell him that they had placed matters in the hands of the police for further investigation.
I explained to him that this would need to be taken seriously and that I would need to instruct a solicitor to become involved in the case.
I was aware that doctors can be…. touchy if you are too blunt about their misdemeanours and errors, so as diplomatically as I could I said….
“The thing is doctor, that I need to point out to you that to an outside observer examining the case, what you have been doing might possibly look as though you have been deliberately indulging in this practice in order to financially benefit yourself personally”
To my surprise, he said: “Yes, that’s exactly right. That’s what I have been doing….”
For once I was rendered speechless for quite a few seconds.
I don’t need to go onto say that it was the end of this guy’s medical career (though I don’t think he went to prison – I think he got a suspended sentence or similar) – and all for what to him was a very small sum indeed.