NHS director jailed for lying about professional qualifications

An NHS director has been jailed after lying on his CV about his professional qualifications.

Lee Joseph Whitehead, 44, the former director of planning and service modernisation for Stoke-on-Trent Primary Care Trust (PCT), was sentenced to 12 weeks in custody following an investigation by the NHS Counter Fraud Service (CFS) which found he had vastly fabricated his degree qualifications.

Allegations were first made about his qualifications in January 2007, when he started his employment with the trust.

CFS head of operations Allan Carter said: “Some people think it is OK to bend the truth or fabricate qualifications on a CV. It is not. It is particularly unacceptable when those qualifications are of a clinical nature. This could cause real risks to the care of patients.

The CFS team proved Whitehead had made the same “irresponsible” claims on applications going back to June 2003. These included the Vale of Aylesbury PCT, where he had worked from April 2005 until he started employment with Stoke PCT.

Carter added: “I would urge all health bodies to undertake robust pre-employment checks regardless of the previous roles people claim to have done. This is not simply embellishing a CV, it is making false claims which can end – as it has for Whitehead – in a jail sentence.”

Whitehead, of White End Park, Buckinghamshire, had listed his degree qualifications as a BSc Honours (Psychology), an MSc (Clinical Psychology) and that he held a Doctorate in Psychology. He also stated that he was a Chartered Psychologist and a full member of the British Psychological Society. In fact he only held his BSc in Psychology.

Last year, research found that lying on CVs continued to be a serious risk for employers, with dishonesty increasingly prevalent among 36 to 40-year-olds.

[Second sentence edited 10:31am, 8 January in light of comment from Angel]

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