A County Down GP was sentenced today at Downpatrick Crown Court to two years imprisonment suspended for two years in relation to 29 counts of fraud by abuse of position and false representation, unlawful possession of controlled drugs and failure to properly keep a Controlled Drugs Register.
Dr Thomas James Anthony Egerton, 57, of Station Road, Craigavad, appeared at Downpatrick Crown Court having previously pleaded guilty to the 29 charges arising from his unlawful possession of a range of controlled drugs for his own use which were obtained fraudulently from the Health Service.
The unlawful activities took place in Newtownards, Bangor, Lisbane, Portaferry and Killyleagh over an 18 month period between March 2013 and October 2014 when Dr Egerton was working as a locum GP. The drugs illegally obtained for his own use included diamorphine, lorazepam, diazepam, midazolam, tramadol and zopiclone.
Dr Egerton was sentenced as follows:
Count 1- Fraud by abuse of position: two years imprisonment
Count 2- Fraud by false representation: two years imprisonment
Count 3- Fraud by false representation: two years imprisonment
Counts 4, 6-18, 20-22, 24- Possession Class C drug: six months imprisonment
Counts 5, 19, 23- Possession Class A drug: 12 months imprisonment
Counts 25-29- Controlled drug register offences: six months imprisonment
All sentences to run concurrently and were suspended for two years.
The convictions followed an investigation undertaken by the Department of Health’s Medicines Regulatory Group (MRG). The officer in charge of the investigation, Mr Peter Moore, said: "This case concerned a GP who was prepared to use his position to defraud the Health Service to obtain dangerous prescription drugs for his own use. Today’s convictions and sentence makes it clear that anyone involved in this kind of criminality, no matter who they are or what position they might hold, will be held to account.
Professor Mike Mawhinney, Head of the Medicines Regulatory Group added: "Following today’s conviction, full details of the investigation will be forwarded to the General Medical Council (GMC), the regulatory body for medical practitioners. In the interests of public safety, unlawful possession of drugs in any guise cannot be tolerated and this conviction clearly demonstrates our determination to combat this kind of illegal activity."
Notes to editors:
- Media enquiries about this press release should be directed to the Department of Health press office on 028 9052 0074 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.
- Details of the charges can be found using the following link.
- We cannot ease up in our fightback – Health Minister 15 January 2021
- Travel Corridor Suspended 15 January 2021
- Revised visiting guidance comes into effect today 15 January 2021
- Ministers welcome launch of pharmacy codeword scheme for domestic abuse victims 15 January 2021