A former NHS finance chief jailed for forging his trust’s valuation reports has been struck off by his professional body.

Former Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust director of finance and deputy chief executive Philip Neal was last week excluded from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ register.

Mr Neal was sentenced to 12 months in prison last year for four counts of forgery relating to documents he submitted to the Department of Health and the trust’s external auditors at the end of the 2005-06 financial year.

The forgeries lowered the actual valuations the Valuation Office Agency had given to land and property Mr Neal had sold for the trust.

If the forgeries had gone unnoticed, they would have artificially deflated the value of the assets and allowed the trust to report a £1m surplus in 2005-06.

NHS Counter Fraud Service investigating officer Alan McGill said Mr Neal’s conviction had helped “drive home the message that the NHS will not tolerate dishonesty at any level”.

Mr Neal has the right to appeal the association’s decision to bar him.

HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle is holding a conference on Public Sector Fraud on 29 September. For further details visit www.lgc-fraud.com