Six-month custodial sentence for multi-million pound attempted fraud on the NHS

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At a committal hearing on 11 February 2021, Ms Linda Metcalf was sentenced to six months in jail for deliberately attempting to defraud the NHS in excess of £5.7 million. In addition, Ms Metcalf was ordered to repay the costs of the committal hearing within 28 days, amounting to £23,000.

NHS Resolution pursued committal proceedings on behalf of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust in line with its strategy to combat and deter fraud by dishonest claimants. The court concluded that Ms Metcalf was fundamentally dishonest for grossly exaggerating the effect of injuries sustained from a delay in diagnosing spinal cord compression (cauda equina syndrome) and that she deliberately and fraudulently claimed compensation in excess of £5.7 million against the NHS. Ms Metcalf has re-paid the interim payment of £75,000 that she received for her injuries.

Video surveillance of Ms Metcalf showed that, while she claimed to be severely disabled, she only used her wheelchair and crutches for medical appointments.

In his remarks, The Honourable Mr Justice Griffiths said: “She gave a completely stage managed appearance about her disability.

“On July 23rd, 2018, she was interviewed at her parents’ house when she said that she could not get in or out of her car without someone to help her.

“She was misleading, and that was shown on more than one occasion.”

Jailing her, he stressed how the losses would have impacted on the NHS, stating “It was not a one off, it was a course of conduct which was sustained relentlessly over a course of years,”

Helen Vernon, Chief Executive of NHS Resolution said: “This case highlights the very serious consequences of submitting a dishonest and exaggerated claim against the NHS where we will not hesitate to pursue a custodial sentence.”