A health worker who masqueraded as a qualified nurse escaped a jail sentence today - after a judge heard that health professionals praised the standard of her work.
Deniece Stewart was given a twenty month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after committing what was described in court as a gross breach of trust and a confidence fraud. From Maidstone Crown Court, Derek Johnson reports and speaks to Dr Caroline Jessel.
A bogus nurse who gave almost 2,000 patients cervical smears and vaccinations she was not qualified to carry out was today spared jail.
Former health care assistant Denice Stewart, 48, had admitted theft, fraud, deception and forgery after posing as a registered nurse for six years.
When she was arrested in July 2011, the surgeries she worked at in Essex and Kent were forced to offer patients retests and additional treatment.
Imposing a sentence of 20 months imprisonment suspended for two years at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Carey said Stewart's criminal activity had been of a "persistent and highly premeditated kind".
I have reached the conclusion that uppermost in your mind at all times was a desire to have a status which you had not earned and which you did not deserve.
"You were deceiving others, you were deceiving yourself and living in a bubble of deception and self-deception."
A bogus nurse who vaccinated more than a thousand children and carried out hundreds of tests on women - today pleaded guilty to theft and fraud.
Denice Stewart was arrested after being allowed to work - unsupervised - at four GP practices in Medway in Kent over four years. She was not qualified, but employed deception to pretend she was.
The former healthcare worker was employed as a registered nurse, after producing an NHS identity code not backed with a photo. She will be sentenced next month. Derek Johnson reports from Maidstone Crown Court.
Detectives have charged Denice Stewart of Northfields, near Tunbridge Wells, after claims that hundreds of people were treated by a woman posing as a registered nurse for four years without being qualified. NHS Kent and Medway says there was no reason to believe anyone's health had been harmed.