Nurse who worked elsewhere while claiming sick pay suspended from NMC register
Nurse team leader's role included investigating sick leave at his trust.
A nurse team leader whose role included investigating sick leave has been suspended from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register for fraudulently claiming sick pay while working elsewhere.
Adult and mental health nurse Megnath Rakatoo was given an interim suspension of 18 months for claiming sick pay from his employers, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, while working at the Priory.
The sanction follows a guilty plea to four counts of dishonestly making false representation to make gain, which was heard at Guildford Crown Court last August, for which Mr Rakatoo was handed a nine-month suspended jail sentence and four-month tagged curfew order, and was ordered to pay back the £9,799.74 he had received for sick pay, plus costs.
'Position of responsibility'
An NMC conduct and competency committee hearing on 7 July heard how Mr Rakatoo ‘was in a position of responsibility, and should have been a role model to colleagues’.
'Part of Mr Rakatoo's role involved monitoring systems such as sickness management, and being involved in investigations into sick leave and people working outside the trust without consent,' the panel heard.
'It is therefore clear that Mr Rakatoo was aware of the system and his obligations.'
Trail of fraud
The panel heard how the fraud began in October 2013, when Mr Rakatoo self-certified that he had a severe chest infection and was off for three days, when in reality he had attended an induction course and worked at the Priory for three days.
He later completed a return-to-work form, which stated that he had not worked elsewhere.
A second period of sick leave was claimed between 28 June and 27 July 2014, when Mr Rakatoo produced two medical certificates that stated he had a lower respiratory tract infection. He subsequently negotiated a phased return to work because of his symptoms.
However, during this period, he had worked five days at the Priory.
A third absence saw him work at the Priory on 5 April 2015, while again producing medical certificates for a chest infection.
A fourth and extended sick leave occurred during his notice period after handing in his resignation at the trust; Mr Rakatoo worked five shifts at the Priory in July 2015 during the notice period, despite claiming he was under stress.
Mr Rakatoo’s reflective statement to the NMC said that he had an undisclosed condition and that he felt he was not able to cope with working at the trust, but could work at the Priory.
He was remorseful for his actions and recognised the reputational harm to the profession, the NMC said.
The panel determined: 'While Mr Rakatoo is yet to demonstrate that he fully accepts responsibility for his actions, by his admissions and reflective statement he has begun to show some insight and, as such, does not require permanent removal from the register at this stage.'
Calling his behaviour 'unacceptable', the panel accepted that 12 months was an 'appropriate' length of suspension, with the interim order extending this to 18 months to include the appeal period.
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