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Faker banned from NHS

March 03 2010
No more hospital beds for rough sleeper with more than 70 aliases

A rough sleeper who faked illness to enter hospitals has been given a criminal ASBO banning him from using the NHS.

Bolton Crown Court heard that Christopher Dearlove, 41, became expert at faking symptoms, and would even claim to have highly infectious diseases in order to obtain private rooms. He used more than 70 different aliases between January 2007 and March 2009 in order to be admitted to wards.

Mr Dearlove was handed a three-year community order with a supervision requirement. The judge warned that he faced a possible prison sentence of up to five years if he breaches his Asbo, under which he must not enter an NHS building in England or Wales nor provide false personal information or details of false illnesses to NHS staff. He now cannot seek any medical treatment "unless genuinely ill".

Hospitals as far apart as Glasgow and Cambridge, Rochdale and South London were affected, and it is thought his deceptions could have begun 15 years ago. Experts claim the fraud has cost the NHS tens of thousands of pounds.

He often claimed to be a haemophiliac with Aids, or that his partner had TB and was either not taking her medication or was resistant to treatment. Mr Dearlove would feign chest pain, night sweats and weight loss. But when blood tests and X-rays showed there was no cause for concern, staff began to realise he was what nurses call a "hospital hopper".

In a statement released to the press Alan Stewart, CFS Northern and Yorkshire operational fraud manager, said: "Dearlove's behaviour had a chronic impact, as he was using up valuable hospital resources sorely needed by genuine patients. Each time he attended Accident & Emergency and was then admitted to hospital, it cost an NHS Trust from £400 to £1,000."

Richard Hampton, head of the NHS security management service, said: "The close working between experts in both our security and fraud services helped bring the investigation to this excellent outcome. The criminal Asbo is to prevent further unnecessary financial losses and risks to the NHS and its patients." Mr Dearlove pleaded guilty to five charges of fraud by false representation on Wednesday, 2 June. Four charges remain on file.