Winchester hospital secretary convicted of fraud

6:07pm Friday 9th November 2012

A FORMER medical secretary at Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital has been convicted of fiddling her overtime claims.

Susan Homewood, 63, denied 16 counts of fraudulently claiming overtime pay between January 2009 and April 2010.

Homewood was cleared of nine counts but found guilty of seven by the eight-man and four-woman jury at Winchester Crown Court today. (NOV9)

She was released on conditional bail with sentencing due on December 7.

Homewood, of New Lane, King’s Somborne, was employed by Winchester and Eastleigh NHS Healthcare Trust as a part-time medical secretary in the accident and emergency department.

The jury at Winchester Crown Court heard health authority computer records showing the time she logged on and off her terminal, suggested she started later and left earlier than claimed.

But Homewood said her job involved more than just working on her computer, including organising a doctors’ rotas to keep A&E open and sorting blood test results for consultants to view. She said: “I had lots to do that did not involve the computer.”

Jeremy Wright, defending, said the computer records also showed the medical secretary had worked extra hours for which she had not submitted overtime claims.

Homewood said hospital records suggesting she claimed overtime on days when she was on leave or off sick were incorrect. She told the jury: “I was there.”

The court heart Homewood submitted 48 time sheets in which she claimed to have worked overtime but only five of those had genuine signatures of senior staff authorising payment. The rest were forged.

Asked who could have faked the signatures, she said: “I don’t know.”

Homewood said it was standard practise for medical secretaries to fill in their time sheets and leave a column blank for senior medical staff to sign later as they were often busy with patients.

Homewood added none of her timesheets were ever returned or queried before her arrest. She said: “I have not forged any signatures and I worked all the hours.”

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