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Jailed NHS chief to ease hospital cuts

PUBLISHED: 16:41 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:53 25 August 2010

EXCLUSIVE AN NHS boss who was jailed for lying about his qualifications has been hired by another healthcare trust to help cut services.

EXCLUSIVE

AN NHS boss who was jailed for lying about his qualifications has been hired by another healthcare trust to help cut services.

Lee Whitehead started work yesterday at Bexley Care Trust as a service development manager in its commissioning department on a six-month, £57,515 salary.

The jailbird was handed a 12-week prison sentence in January after he lied to Stoke-on-Trent Primary Care Trust about having a Doctorate and Master's degree in order to land a lucrative £78,000 job as director of planning and modernisation.

His latest job is to get as many patients as possible to use healthcare based in the community rather than in hospitals, including the soon-to-be-downgraded Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup.

A spokesperson for Bexley Care Trust said Mr Whitehead fully acknowledges that he made a mistake and "error of judgement" and declared his misdemeanour in his application.

They said: "His appointment is consistent with the Care Trust's recruitment procedures. Mr Whitehead is an experienced NHS senior manager with nearly 20 years service in the NHS.

"Since earlier this year he has worked as a contractor in the NHS.

"He has a proven track record of helping to deliver better services to the public and is committed to improving service choice and delivery for the residents of Bexley."

Mr Whitehead, who has been in senior NHS positions since 2003, only served three weeks of his twelve-week custodial sentence handed down by North Staffordshire magistrates.

When applying for his Staffordshire post in 2007, the NHS veteran claimed he had a BSc in psychology, an MSc in clinical psychology, a Doctorate in psychology and that he was a chartered psychologist with a full membership of the British Psychological Society.

When an allegation about his qualifications was made shortly after taking his post, the NHS discovered he only held a Bachelor's degree yet had made the same claims since June 2003.

Fortunately for Mr Whitehead, the Bexley job specification only had a postgraduate qualification down as 'desirable' and not 'essential', unlike a degree.

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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