Hospital worker on Covid ward used dead patient’s bank card to buy food and drink from vending machine

Ayesha Basharat Credit: West Midlands Police

A healthcare assistant working on a Covid ward has been convicted of using a dead patient’s bank card to buy crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks from a hospital vending machine.

West Midlands Police say Ayesha Basharat, 23, took the 83-year-old woman’s card after she passed away at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham on 24 January.

A doctor had recorded the patient's time of death at 1.56pm – but just 17 minutes later Basharat used the card to make six £1 purchases using the vending machine’s contactless touch pad. 

Ayesha Basharat using the card at a hospital vending machine Credit: West Midlands Police

She used it again that evening, then tried again twice later that month, but by that time the card had been cancelled.

When she was arrested during her shift, she still had the victim’s card.

Basharat, from Farm Road, Birmingham initially claimed she found the card on the floor and got it “muddled up” with her own card, but they were different colours and the court heard how she ignored hospital protocol around patient lost property.

She admitted theft and fraud by false representation and at Birmingham Crown Court on 9 June she was given two five-month jail terms to run concurrently, both suspended for 18 months. 

"This was an abhorrent breach of trust and distressing for the victim’s family. They were having to come to terms with the death of a loved one from Covid when they found the bank card missing – and then of course the realisation that the card was taken by someone who should have been caring for her.

- Investigating officer DC Andrew Snowdon, West Midlands Police

The hospital says that Basharat was immediately suspended when this incident came to light and all steps were taken to support the patient's family and support the police with its investigation.