"Mr Smith added that McLelland was suffering depression and was on medication when he changed the documents."
Nurse doctored sick notes to scam £10k from NHS Lothian
Published Date: 05 March 2010
A NURSE who doctored sick notes for a sore toe to scam over £10k from NHS Lothian has been jailed.
Psychiatric nurse Martin McLelland, 42, changed the dates on sick lines from doctors as he stayed off work in 2008 and 2009.
But after he was caught McLelland was sacked and now faces being struck-off the nursing register.
Today at Livingston Sheriff Court he was jailed for four months after he earlier admitted operating a fraudulent scheme.
McLelland, a psychiatric nurse for 24 years, was working at St John's Hospital in Livingston when he began suffering jaw pain as well as an infected toe.
He took time off from his work in 2008 and was given proper certificates for his absence by GPs.
But McLelland altered dates on the documents so that he could extend his time off from November 2008 until 2009.
He used the falsified medical certificates to claim £10,482.15 in sick pay.
Yesterday his lawyer, Iain Smith, insisted that his client had not benefited from the scam, because he would have been given new sick lines based on his injuries and illness.
Mr Smith said McLelland, from Livingston, could not remember changing the dates but accepted that he had done and asked that the court consider a non custodial sentence.
He said: "He will be deregistered as a nurse, he is still out of work.
"He gained nothing from doing this, in fact he has lost everything.
"As far as any elaborate scam was concerned there was no elaborate scam, he simply changed the dates.
"It doesn't make sense what he did because he would have been given a sick line anyway for his condition that was ongoing.
"He has no previous convictions and has served the community for 24 years in his capacity as a psychiatric nurse.
"He is very remorseful about the situation and cannot adequately explain it, he can't remember doing it, he accepts that he did it and that it was wrong."
Mr Smith added that McLelland was suffering depression and was on medication when he changed the documents.
But Sheriff William Donald Muirhead insisted that McLelland had to be jailed.
Sheriff Muirhead said: "I have listened very carefully to your solicitor and there is no doubt that you have already suffered very considerably for the offence.
"I can't get away from the fact that you were in quite a responsible position within the National Health Service and a person who was fully aware of the importance of the credibility of the system.
"That someone in that position should falsify sick notes.
"On the face of it it may not have cost the health service the £10,482 because he may well have got them anyway.
"It is the act of falsifying these notes that goes against the whole way that the NHS operates.
"It seems to me that the only appropriate disposal is a custodial sentence."
Sheriff Muirhead said he had reduced a six month sentence to four because of his early guilty plea.
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- Last Updated: 05 March 2010 3:45 PM
- Source: Edinburgh Evening News
- Location: Edinburgh