Dr Thirumurugan Sundaresan given suspended prison sentence

Date published: 19 March 2014

Dr Thirumurugan Sundaresan, a partner at East Street Surgery in Rochdale, has been given a nine month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months after he admitted to falsifying the records of over 1,700 patients.

It is understood that Dr Sundaresan altered the records to hit targets and increase payments from the NHS to his practice.

Dr Saundaresan, of Park Road, Helmshore stole over £62,000 from the NHS by altering the records. Dr Saundaresan was a partner at the East Street Surgery in Rochdale when he defrauded the money from the Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard that between 21 March and 24 March 2008, Dr Saundaresan altered the patient records system more than 7,000 times. It is understood that this was done to achieve Quality and Outcomes Framework financial targets set by the Primary Care Trust.

It was heard that Dr Saundaresan claimed for patient checks he had not carried out, including digital retinopathy checks. These checks are vital to people with diabetes as they can save diabetic patients from going blind.

Records were also falsified to say that patients had been sent for smear tests and flu jabs when they had not.

Suspicions were raised based on the unusual pattern of the practices output. This then led to a fraud investigation which was supported by NHS Protect.

Dr Saundaresan pleaded guilty to two offences under Section 2 and Section 4 of the Fraud Act. He was also ordered to pay £50,000 towards the cost of the NHS investigation.

Pauline Smith, North West Area Anti Fraud Specialist, NHS Protect, said: "Dr Sundaresan defrauded NHS funds and could have put the health of patients at risk. Stealing from the NHS is not a victimless crime, as this case proves. NHS Protect worked closely with the Local Counter Fraud Specialist to obtain this successful result. We always push for the strongest possible sanctions for offenders.”

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