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Wales Man Faked Drug Overdose to Enjoy Hospital Facilities

by Medindia Content Team on August 30, 2007 at 5:48 PM
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Wales Man Faked Drug Overdose to Enjoy Hospital Facilities

One has heard of men committing petty theft in order to avail of prison hospitality.

But over there in Wales a man faked drug overdoses so that he could use hospital A&E (Accident and Emergency) wards 'like hotels,' authorities say.

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He has now been served with an Asbo (anti-social behaviour order), which would in effect restrict his access to health services.

Mark Smith, 33, from Powys, Wales, visited hospitals on hundreds of occasions over a 14-year period costing the NHS an estimated Ģ117,000.

He will now need to obtain written permission or to pre-arrange an appointment before he is allowed to set foot on NHS premises, except in an emergency.
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It is only the second time an Asbo had been issued for such an offence. It has been applied for an indefinite period, but is not applicable in Scotland.

The NHS Counter Fraud Service was alerted to Smith's actions after a tip-off in January last year. The service said Smith had visited A&E departments in major cities on at least 320 occasions between 1993 and 2007.

It is alleged that he misused hospitals in Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, and Manchester.

Dermid McCaufland, acting managing director of the NHS Counter Fraud Service, said the systematic abuse of the NHS was completely unacceptable. 'Not only did he use hospitals as hotels and ambulances as a taxi service, he harassed staff and patients,' he said.

'By stopping staff from treating genuine patients, blocking beds and increasing waiting times, he put lives at risk. The NHS will not tolerate this type of behaviour.'

Smith was bailed at Welshpool magistrates after admitting attempted deception over NHS travel expenses.

He will be sentenced on 25 September for claiming Ģ200 worth of travel expenses from the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport. Sentencing was adjourned for psychiatric and alcohol assessment reports.

Source: Medindia
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