• Text messages and chat messages prove NHS manager’s guilt
  • Money spent on trips to Butlins and tickets to Chelsea Football Club
  • NHS Protect appeals for help in finding fraudsters

An NHS manager responsible for maintaining dialysis equipment at a London trust has been jailed for fraud worth £300,000.

Alan Hodge, 53, a renal technical department manager at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, was responsible for maintaining equipment at three dialysis sites.

Part of his job also involved visiting patients’ homes to decide what modifications would be needed for them to receive home dialysis. He would then procure the work required.

But in a scam lasting more than six years, Mr Hodge commissioned work on behalf of the trust that was not done, was overpriced, or was carried out more frequently than was necessary. He then took a cut of the proceeds from three companies complicit in the fraud.

The fraud was only discovered after the trust suspended Mr Hodge for an unrelated disciplinary matter in 2013 and the manager of the renal department noticed that far fewer invoices were being presented for authorisation.

In January 2014, the local counter fraud specialist referred the investigation to NHS Protect. Investigators uncovered 266 fraudulent invoices including:

  • invoices for modification of patients’ homes for dialysis treatment when they never received their treatment at home;
  • invoices for electrical and plumbing installation work at a prison (HMP High Down) that was actually undertaken by prison staff;
  • invoices for installation of dialysis equipment at HMP High Down that was actually undertaken by Mr Hodge and another member of trust staff as part of their paid NHS duties;
  • invoices for installation of flooring at a dialysis patient’s home that was actually fitted by the patient’s own relative.

A series of texts and chat messages between Mr Hodge, his girlfriend Lisa Green and the three contractors, confirmed their part in the scam.

Last week Mr Hodge was sentenced to four years in jail, having been found guilty of abuse of position, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006.

Pierre Allen, owner of Mains Contractors, and Stephen Thompson, owner of S J Thompson, were also found guilty of fraud by abuse of position. Mr Hodge’s girlfriend, Ms Green, was found guilty of a money laundering offence; Philip Jones, owner of TWS (Southern) Limited, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position in May.

The jury heard how Mr Hodge had been responsible for maintaining the dialysis equipment at three sites: St Helier Hospital in Carshalton, Manorgate satellite dialysis unit in Kingston Upon Thames, and Mayday satellite dialysis unit at Croydon University Hospital.

Between 2007 and 2013 S J Thompson Plumbing was paid a total of £118,045.69 by Epsom and St Helier Trust; Mains Contractors received £388,023.58 (2009-2013) and TWS (Southern) Ltd received £43,609.00 (2011-2013).

Mr Hodge spent his portion of the money on frequent holidays to Butlins, a large static caravan in Hastings, and Chelsea Football Club tickets.

Sue Frith, managing director of NHS Protect, said today: “It is very sad when trusted staff with valuable technical skills, sorely needed by the NHS and its patients, turn to crime.

“NHS Protect welcomes any tip-offs where fraud is suspected and wherever appropriate, it will be investigated and prosecuted.”