Asbo to halt UK’s worst hospital hopper

Posted: June 3, 2010 in General

NHS Security Management Service Press Release

IlieA homeless man with over 70 aliases who became an expert at faking illness and cost the NHS tens of thousands of pounds in wasted care has been issued with a three year criminal Asbo, at Bolton Crown Court, 1st June, after an investigation by the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (NHS CFSMS). The judge warned that he faces a possible five year prison sentence if he breaches it .

Christopher Anthony Dearlove, 41, of no fixed abode, also received a three year community order with a supervision requirement. He earlier pleaded guilty to five of nine charges of Fraud by False Representation, contrary to section 1(2)(a) of the Fraud Act 2006, with four left to remain on file. He was remanded in custody for reports before sentencing.

Dearlove would frequently show up at A & E departments across England, giving false personal details and a largely false medical history, sometimes being verbally aggressive to staff. From 2006, the Legal Protection Unit of the NHS Security Management Service (SMS) issued a number of alerts to hospitals up and down the country to counteract Dearlove’s activities.

He knew exactly which symptoms would get him admitted to a hospital ward, and how to be classed as highly infectious, to obtain his own side room. He would invariably claim to be a haemophiliac with AIDS. He would also say his partner had TB and was either not taking her medication or was resistant to treatment. He would feign right-sided chest pain, coughing up blood, night sweats and weight loss. But blood tests, X-rays and ECG scans would show no cause for concern, so staff often realised he was a ‘hospital hopper’ or timewaster and discharged him.

Dearlove was first interviewed in April 2009 at Grimbsy Police Station after being arrested by officers of Humberside Police. In October 2009 he was again arrested and later charged, this time by Greater Manchester Police, for using the same dishonest techniques at Rochdale Infirmary.

Counter Fraud Specialists at the Northern and Yorkshire regional office of the NHS Counter Fraud Service (CFS) interviewed Dearlove about a further 17 offences committed throughout England between January 2007 – March 2009.

CFS Northern and Yorkshire Operational Fraud Manager Alan Stewart said today: “Dearlove’s behaviour had a chronic impact as he was using up valuable hospital resources sorely needed by genuine patients. Each time he attended A & E and was then admitted to hospital, it cost an NHS Trust from £400 to £1,000”.

Richard Hampton, Head of the NHS Security Management Service, said: “The close working between experts in both our security and fraud services helped bring the investigation to this excellent outcome. The Criminal Asbo is to prevent further unnecessary financial losses and risks to the NHS and its patients”.

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