Hospital FD brands sentence ‘excessive’

The NHS trust finance director sentenced to 12-months imprisonment for filing
fraudulent accounts has appealed against his sentence, saying it is ‘manifestly

Philip Neal, former FD of
Mid Essex Hospital Services
NHS Trust
was convicted of fraud last month. He submitted inflated
valuations on land the trust was to sell, to report a £1m surplus in accounts
for the financial year 2005/06, when in fact the trust was £10m in deficit.

His defence argued that Neal, 44, was under tremendous pressure to hit
unrealistic financial targets and that he had been working 12-hour days. At the
time of preparing the accounts for 2005-6 Neal had also been negotiating a
complex PFI deal as well as holding the position of trust deputy chief

The defence argued his case was unusual because he had not committed the
forgery for his own financial gain.

Steve Sharp of Bivonas solicitors, representing Neal, said he hoped the
appeal would be heard quickly in view of the nature of the sentence. He added
that he expected an appeal date to be announced soon.

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