Friday 24 November 2017 05:29:19 AM

County Down GP Gets Suspended Sentence
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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.”