A former primary care trust director has been jailed for lying on his CV.

Lee Joseph Whitehead, 44, of White End Park, Bucks, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison for lying to employers including Stoke on Trent PCT.

He claimed he had a BSc in psychology, an MSc in clinical psychology and a doctorate in psychology. He also said he was a chartered psychologist with full membership of the British Psychological Society.

Fraud

An investigation by the NHS Counter Fraud Service - prompted shortly after Mr Whitehead was hired by Stoke on Trent as director of planning and service modernisation in January 2007 - discovered he actually only held the BSc.

The service said he had also made the claims on applications going back to June 2003, including one to his previous employer Vale of Aylesbury PCT, where he worked as a director for nearly two years.

Risks to patients

NHS Counter Fraud Service head of operations Allan Carter said: "It is particularly unacceptable when those qualifications are of a clinical nature. This could cause real risks to the care of patients.

"It also devalues the hard work and effort put in by those people who have taken the time and trouble to obtain genuine qualifications.

"We have well established procedures and can check with previous employers and educational bodies to find the truth.

Alarm bells

"This should ring alarm bells with others that have made false claims on their CVs and where there is evidence we will always seek to bring a criminal prosecution."

Mr Carter said: "I would urge all health bodies to undertake robust pre-employment checks regardless of the previous roles people claim to have done."