latest health care news

28.09.18

Woman jailed for defrauding the NHS and Grenfell fire victims out of thousands

A former Kensington and Chelsea council employee who stole a total of almost £100,000 from an NHS trust and the Grenfell fire victims fund has been jailed for five-and-a-half years.

Jenny McDonagh worked for the health service as a financial officer based at Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent between 2015 and 2016, defrauding the Medway NHS Trust out of £35,000.

She also worked in the finance department of Kensington and Chelsea Council, where she stole just over £60,000 – which was intended to go to victims of the Grenfell fire disaster.

McDonagh was sentenced to jail for 18 months for the NHS fraud, and four years for Grenfell with the total value of her fraudulent activity reaching £97,115.

Judge Robyn Johnson blasted McDonagh for putting NHS finances under strain.

He said: "It is a well-known fact that the NHS, funded by the taxpayer, is fully stretched to meet the ever-increasing demands on its resources.

“In my judgement it is an aggravating feature that your dishonesty placed additional strain on the Medway NHS Foundation Trust’s budget.

“The second was to steal funds in a way that any member of the public would find repugnant.

“I have to sentence many cases that have come to be known as Grenfell frauds, your offending is unique in my experience.”

The 39-year-old spent the money on luxury hospitals to Dubai and Los Angeles and went on shopping and gambling sprees.

She pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position of trust at the Isleworth Crown Court on Friday.

“As the finance manager at the Grenfell Team with Royal Borough Council of Kensington and Chelsea, you knew exactly what these funds were for and the importance of them for the intended recipients, namely the victims of the fire.

"Bearing that in mind the scale of your dishonesty in these frauds beggars’ belief.”

Neil Ross, mitigating, said McDonagh apologised to her victims and added: “She found herself so lost that this frivolous spending caused by her serious offending was her escape.

“She’s destroyed her own future, in effect has brought this down and all of this down on herself.”


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Image credit -  Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images

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