A 35-year-old woman from Peterborough has been found to be ‘fundamentally dishonest’ by a judge, who has rejected her claim for damages against her previous employer and ordered her to pay back legal costs.
Natasha Griffin was working as a trainee healthcare assistant at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust in 2014 when she claimed she suffered serious damage to her hand as she tried to stop an elderly patient from falling over.
Griffin, sued the hospital trust for loss of future earnings and disability for in excess of £1m because she said she couldn’t work.
An investigation by NHS Resolution lawyers, acting on behalf of the trust, discovered she started up a business called ‘Relax with Wax’ and is still registered as its director with companies house.
Griffin tried to hide the existence of her business from trust lawyers by using her married name of McLean. At this point, in 2017, she was already in receipt of disability benefits. Evidence provided to the court also showed that she could drive, despite her claim to the contrary.
Representing herself at Cambridge County Court last week (9 to 13 May), Griffin did not move her right arm, using her left arm exclusively. However videos obtained from Facebook and supplied to the court demonstrated that Griffin had good use of her right hand, the one she claimed had been permanently damaged.
His Honour Judge Robert Duddridge ruled that the trust was not liable and gave permission for in excess of £100,000 in legal costs to be recovered.
Helen Vernon, Chief Executive at NHS Resolution, said: “NHS Resolution welcomes the judge’s decision that the NHS is not liable in this case and that the process for recovery of legal costs can be started.
“We further welcome the judge’s finding that the claimant had been fundamentally dishonest. We will always support genuine claimants in achieving fair and timely compensation but this result is a clear message to those who seek to defraud the NHS and take money which could be used for patient care.”