Nurse implicated in claims scam

2011-01-25 22:40

Johannesburg - A nurse who was caught allegedly stealing a patient's medical records was arrested in Lusikisiki, the Eastern Cape health department said on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old woman was arrested at the St Elizabeth hospital on Monday afternoon, departmental spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said.

The nurse was being monitored by the hospital after her name was mentioned as one of the people who were colluding with lawyers who approached families to make fraudulent claims against the health department.

"We have information that three families were booked in a hotel in Durban to meet with lawyers who convinced them to take the department to court over false claims," said Kupelo.

The lawyers would convince relatives of patients to sign statements alleging that the hospital had been negligent in handling of patients.

"This costs the department millions in litigation as the department has no records with which to defend itself in court."

Kupelo said his department became aware of the practice in February 2010 and its investigations implicated certain members of the staff.

"Her name was mentioned and as I said, the hospital started monitoring her movements."

The woman would be reported to the SA Nursing Council while the department conducts its own internal investigation.

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