- Paediatric Dr Maria Klusmann says she was on leave while working elsewhere
- She worked at five private hospitals over a two-year period while still at UCLH
- Dr Klusmann, of north London, is accused of defrauding taxpayer of up to £70k
A ‘greedy’ consultant is in court accused of fraud for working at five private hospitals while still collecting her six-figure NHS salary.
Paediatric radiologist Dr Maria Klusmann, 47, claims she worked at private clinics across the capital while she was on approved leave from University College London Hospital (UCLH).
But prosecutors claim she acted out of ‘money and greed’ and unlawfully defrauded taxpayers by as much as £70,000 by working privately while she should have been at UCLH and collecting a total salary of £130,000.
Paediatric radiologist Dr Maria Klusmann (pictured) is charged with one count of fraud by abuse of position over a two-year period between April 2014 and April 2016
She is charged with one count of fraud by abuse of position over a two-year period between April 2014 and April 2016.
Prosecuting, Leila Gaskin told Blackfriars Crown Court: ‘This is a case about money and greed.
‘The prosecution say the defendant was paid by the NHS, but instead she chose to work elsewhere at exclusive private clinics.’
Dr Klusmann received a total of around £130,000 from the NHS and her private work, with between £60,000 and £70,000 fraudulently taken from the Health Service, the jury heard.
She diagnosed sick children by using CT scans, MRIs, S-rays, ultrasound scans and taking biopsies during the two-year period the offence is alleged to have taken place.
Dr Klusmann has pleaded not guilty and denies any dishonesty, insisting much of her private work was during periods of leave from UCLH with the remainder of time paid back to the NHS.
The court heard Dr Klusmann also worked at Highgate Private Hospital; The Wellington Hospital and Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth in St John’s Wood; Aspen Healthcare and HCA Healthcare.
‘Senior doctors were able to see the defendant was not working at the times and places she was contracted to on numerous occasions,’ explained Ms Gaskin.
‘She admitted no wrongdoing and did not alter her conduct and an internal investigation revealed extensive gaps when she was working for other private clinics when she should have been working for the NHS.
Prosecutors claim Klusmann acted out of ‘money and greed’ and unlawfully defrauded taxpayers by as much as £70,000 by working privately while she should have been at UCLH
Prosecuting, Leila Gaskin told Blackfriars Crown Court (pictured): ‘This is a case about money and greed.’
‘The prosecution case is over two years she did not work for hundreds of hours for the NHS and during that time was working in the private sector, earning additional sums and was doing this dishonestly and deliberately covering it up.
‘She was effectively being paid by both the private clinics and the NHS at the same time.
‘The defendant was being dishonest, working at private clinics on days she should have been working for the NHS. She was deceiving the NHS, she was acting fraudulently.’
The court heard Dr Klusmann, of Highgate, north London, reacted negatively when confronted by UCLH.
‘She became agitated and evasive and did not answer questions she was asked and there was an attempt on her part to manipulate the data.
‘She says if there is a deficit there is a fault in the computer software of the hospital, which was prone to crash,’ Ms Gaskin added.
The trial continues.
There would seem to be parallels with this case and yours, Sharmila. Is it known how Dr Klusmann’s case came to light?
Did the UCLH radiology budget-holder raise concerns with UCLH senior managers? And if so, were they thanked for doing so, or did they suffer reprisals for speaking up in the public interest?
Did the senior doctors referred to above raise concerns about the alleged fraud? And if so, did they suffer retaliation?
Yes, it huge similarities to my case. Except mine involved 2 radiologists and they were never investigated. It also cost taxpayer in excess of £300,000 on moonlighting, which does not include legal costs – I estimate a further £130,000
I don’t know how this was discovered and who by? Trouble is when they moonlight and on’t undertake their contracted sessions, it results in the following: 1. delays in diagnosis – and resultant treatment 2. overtime paid to consultants to remove the backlog – at further cost to the public