At a committal hearing on 13 September 2022, Rita Twist-Wilson was sentenced to four months in jail for attempting to defraud the NHS of more than £500,000, and ordered to pay £44,000 in legal costs.
NHS Resolution pursued committal proceedings on behalf of The Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in line with its strategy to combat and deter fraud by dishonest claimants.
The court found Twist-Wilson, 64, had knowingly exaggerated the effect of injuries to her leg after she fell down a manhole at the hospital in Oswestry, Shropshire in 2014. Twist-Wilson, from St. Helens, Merseyside, had her claim struck out by the court in 2020 with the judge concluding that she had been fundamentally dishonest.
Evidence obtained by NHS Resolution showed that she was severely limited before the accident, and had in fact installed a stair lift and subsequently claimed for it, contrary to Twist-Wilson’s assertions that she had been an independent woman and was capable of looking after herself and her family.
At the conclusion of the trial, at the High Court, Stoke-on-Trent, His Honour Judge Salmon concluded that she had been fundamentally dishonest in the presentation of her claim and dismissed her claim in line with section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.
His Honour Judge Salmon said: “All dishonesty by its nature is extremely serious. This was a deliberate attempt to seek compensation from an accident when the true position was that the disabilities claimed were pre-existing.”
Addressing Rita Twist-Wilson, His Honour added: “This is an example of deliberate dishonesty. You were not acting under the influence of anyone else and today you take full responsibility. In my Judgement this is serious in terms of culpability and harm.”
Helen Vernon, Chief Executive of NHS Resolution, said: ‘’This was a deliberate attempt to conceal the facts in order to obtain compensation from the NHS which the claimant wasn’t entitled to. NHS Resolution will always compensate genuine claimants appropriately but will pursue a jail sentence in cases of dishonesty like this’ “
The Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was represented by DAC Beachcroft on behalf of NHS Resolution.
Craig Macbeth, Deputy Chief Executive at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, said: “This is a sad case which highlights the seriousness of any attempt to defraud the NHS.
“Taking the decision to pursue this case in court was not one we took lightly, but we believe it was the right thing to do and was in the public interest. It is important we protect funds that could and should be used for the provision of healthcare services that benefit our patients.”