Aid worker resigns after being convicted of £38,000 NHS fraud

An aid worker has resigned from her role at Médecins Sans Frontières after the charity was made aware that she had been given a 16-month suspended sentence for defrauding the NHS of nearly £38,500.

Sheila Loveridge from Brent, London, was a band 8c infection prevention control inspector at the North East London Commissioning Support Unit and was one of the highest-earning nurses in England.

A London court heard that between 25 October 2018 and 6 June 2019 Loveridge received £38,438 in sick pay after claiming she was unfit for work during this time due to back pain.

But an NHS England and NHS Improvement investigation, launched on 31 May 2019, found she was doing undeclared consultancy work for a private health provider at that time.

Loveridge, who has been a registered nurse for 27 years, resigned from her NHS job during the investigation. 

She pleaded guilty to fraud by failure to disclose at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 27 April before the case was sent to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing. 

At Southwark Crown Court last week, she received a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to pay a £500 fine and £425 in costs.

Loveridge voluntarily repaid the sick pay she received to the NHS and has been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

A band 8c nurse earns at least £63,000, according to Agenda for Change in England, not including London weighting. The average starting salary for a nurse is about £25,000 per year. 

Loveridge has been working for MSF Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, as an infection prevention and control adviser. 

An MSF spokesperson said: "MSF UK was not aware of this case or Ms Loveridge's fixed-term employment with MSF East Africa. 

“Sheila Loveridge will not continue to work for MSF East Africa."

Suspicions of fraud against the NHS can be reported to the NHS Counter Fraud Authority or by calling 0800 028 4060.

- The article was updated on 21 June 2021 after MSF said Loveridge had resigned and had not been sacked, as the story originally said. 

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