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Nurse spared jail after stealing more than £25,000 from a former employer

Sarah Merry took advantage of a payroll error after leaving Cwm Taf University Health Board

Sarah Merry took advantage of a payroll error after leaving Cwm Taf University Health Board


Sarah Merry. Picture: Athena Pictures

A nurse was given a suspended prison sentence for stealing more than £25,500 in salary from a former employer.

Sarah Merry took £25,511.80 in net pay from Cwm Taf University Health Board over a period of 17 months, after leaving her job there in January 2017. She now works at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board as a diabetes specialist nurse.

Admission

Ms Merry, 35, of Tylcha Wen Close, Tonyrefail, south Wales admitted theft and was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, suspended for a year, at Merthyr Crown Court on 22 February.

She must now repay the money in full at a minimum of £250 a month. In addition, the court has ordered her to do 200 hours' unpaid work and attend a rehabilitation course.

The crime was discovered during a review by Cwm Taf University Health Board, which referred the case to NHS Counter Fraud Services Wales. In an interview with investigators, Ms Merry said she had spent the money.

The counter fraud service’s deputy operational fraud manager Cheryl Hill said Ms Merry’s actions had let down her fellow nurses and the NHS.

'Nurse has let down her profession'

‘Instead of alerting her previous NHS employers to the error, she decided to keep the money and spend it on herself, money which should have been spent on NHS services,’ she said.  

‘The vast majority of NHS staff are honest and care greatly for their NHS, but Sarah Merry has let down her profession through her greed.’

A Cwm Taf University Health Board spokesperson said it treated cases of theft by staff ‘very seriously’, adding that system errors in salary administration were rare.

An NHS Counter Fraud Services Wales spokesperson said Ms Merry's current employer has been informed of the case.

Under NMC rules, registrants must declare any offences to the regulator.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board declined to comment.


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