A former practice manager has been jailed for four and a half years for theft and fraud.

Debbie Sadler, of Waltham Close, Willesborough, Ashford, Kent, abused her position as practice manager at Pencester Medical Centre in Dover to steal £207,791 from her employers. She also fraudulently earned more than £93,000 at this and other practices. She pleaded guilty to 27 of 30 charges.

One of the GPs she worked for at the Pencester practice suspected fraud and reported their concerns to the NHS Counter Fraud Service in June 2008.

When her colleagues started to examine the practice’s finances, they found several irregularities including a ghost employee and Sadler was dismissed. Kent police arrested and interviewed her.

Further investigations revealed that Sadler had found a new job while on police bail, as a practice manager at the Albion Health Centre in Whitechapel Rd, London. To obtain it, she had forged her references in the name of a GP at the Pencester Medical Centre. The Albion Health Centre immediately dismissed her when they learned of this in July 2008.

In October 2009, Sadler was charged with multiple offences of theft and fraud. It then emerged she had been employed since March 2009 as maternity cover for the practice manager at the Keats Group Practice in Hampstead, London, and had lined up her next job at the Prince of Wales Group Practice in Kentish Town, London. As a result, Sadler was charged with a further three offences of fraud.