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  1. ITV Report

Doctor struck off after being convicted of £150,000 fraud

Photo: BPM.

An award-winning GP who said he defrauded the NHS out of £150,000 to Improve mental health services has been struck off.

Ian Walton was convicted of fraud at Birmingham Crown Court after pleading guilty at a trial last November.

The court heard he falsified invoices sent to healthcare group, Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, to obtain £153,600.

Sam Brown, prosecuting, said the cash was used later to help train GPs in mental health awareness.

Along with co-defendant Lisa Hill, Walton was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid work.

But Judge Paul Farrer QC said Walton had “not been motivated by greed, but by a desire to improve mental health services” in Sandwell.

He said the doctor had allowed his passion for mental health services to override his judgement and honesty.

The former Tipton GP was struck off after a hearing by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS).

Tribunal chairman Dr Bernard Herdan said:

“While the dishonesty allowed Dr Walton and his co-defendant to earn approximately £17,000 each, the judge found their primary motivation was to train GPs, and thereby improve mental health services in Sandwell.”

– Tribunal chairman Dr Bernard Herdan.

Both Walton and Hill were told to repay the full £153,600 along with court costs. In a letter to the tribunal, the former GP apologised for his conduct. He wrote:

“I wholeheartedly apologise to any colleagues or innocent parties who I may have upset and I recognise I let my standards fall below the very high one’s [sic] that I have always previously followed. I have never otherwise broken the law or had my reputation questioned in a 36-year medical career.”

– Ian Walton.

But the tribunal found Walton’s conviction was not “compatible” with practicing medicine. Dr Herdan added:

“The tribunal considered that Dr Walton’s conviction for fraud was very serious. It breached a fundamental tenet of the profession, namely, that all doctors must be honest. The tribunal has determined that Dr Walton’s conviction is fundamentally incompatible with his continuing to practise medicine. The public interest requires that it be made clear that Dr Walton’s behaviour is unacceptable in a member of the medical profession."

– Dr Herdan.