Kenilworth dentist is found guilty of fraud
A KENILWORTH dentist and his colleague who claimed more than £45,000 of NHS money for treating patients who were also seen privately, have each been sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for a year,
John Atkinson, 64, of Finham Road, Kenilworth, and Werner Muller, 45, of Field Daling Road, Bale, Fakenham, who defrauded the NHS of £25,046.30 and £20,629.51 respectively, were also given 300 hours of community work, following an investigation by NHS Protect at Leicester Crown Court on August 9. Muller was found guilty of 20 counts of false accounting and Atkinson of 17 counts. They were also found guilty of failing to repay money which they owed under the new NHS dental contract at the five week trial.
The dentists, who were subcontracted to provide dental services to Leicestershire County and Rutland Primary Care Trust (PCT), worked from the Clarendon Road Dental Practice in Hinckley.
They each received a monthly salary from Integrated Dental Holdings (IDH), who held the contract with the PCT. Salaries were based on how much NHS treatment they claimed to be carrying out.
A large number of patients were deliberately misled into believing that their treatment was not available under the NHS, so they would have to pay privately. However, an IDH audit undertaken at the practice found that several patients had been treated privately at the same time as a payment claim was submitted to the NHS for the exact same treatment.
IDH alerted NHS Protect to their suspicions and a full examination of Muller’s clinical and claims records commenced. Findings indicated Atkinson was also involved in submitting fraudulent claims. Witness statements substantiating the fraud were obtained from patients, IDH staff, PCT representatives and dental experts.
Before both dentists could be arrested, a tip-off was received that Muller had resigned from his contract and put his house for sale prior to a permanent return to South Africa. He was immediately arrested in October 2007 and documents, including his passport, were seized. A forensic image was obtained from his practice computer.
Atkinson’s contract with IDH was terminated in January 2008, and he was arrested in November 2008.
Mick Hayes, anti-fraud lead at NHS Protect, said today: “Werner Muller and John Atkinson intentionally misled patients about the NHS treatment they could access, in order to gain financially, and then also billed the NHS for the treatment. NHS Protect is working hard to stamp out this kind of fraud.”
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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