A senior NHS hospital manager who gained his job by falsely stating that he had a degree has been sentenced at Oxford Crown Court to two years’ imprisonment (suspended for two years) for fraud against the NHS.
Peter Knight was a director on the Board of Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust, serving as its CIO and digital officer from August 2016 until his resignation in September 2018. Knight has been ordered by the presiding Judge to complete 30 hours of rehabilitation and 200 hours of unpaid work.
The locally-led fraud investigation began after an anonymous tip-off was reported by OUH’s chief finance officer to the Trust’s Local Counter Fraud Specialist.
All of the Trust’s executive and non–executive directors’ files had been updated in November 2017 as part of its duties under the fit and proper persons checks. However, when checked during the investigation, Knight’s HR file did not contain a copy of the degree certificate he had claimed to have.
Possessing a relevant degree was not formally an essential requirement for applicants. Those with “at least ten years’ experience in senior management positions within sizeable organisations” could apply without one.
Knight pleaded guilty at his first appearance at Oxford Magistrates Court which took place on 3 December last year.
Sue Frith, CEO of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, stated: “The sentencing of Peter Knight for fraud against the NHS is a reminder that the law and the rules apply to all in the NHS. Anyone who obtains an NHS job through lying is committing fraud. Any suspicion of fraud against the NHS should be reported via our fraud and corruption reporting line, either online or by telephone.”