NHS worker steals card from dead COVID patient to buy snacks

Instead of returning the card to the family, this NHS worker decided to use it get herself some snacks from the vending machine.

On Wednesday, a healthcare assistant pleaded guilty to theft and fraud after she was accused of stealing a patient’s bank card. The worker had made several £1 transactions at the hospital vending machine just 17 minutes after the patient died from COVID.

The perfect crime?

The 83-year-old patient passed away at Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital on January 24 and while the family was going through her belongings, they realised that her bank card was missing. Turns out that it was in the possession of 23-year-old healthcare assistant, Ayesha Basharat, who was working in the same COVID ward.

CCTV footageshows the young woman making six £1 purchases at the vending machine moments after the patient was declared dead. Four days later, she returned to the hospital with the card and tried to make another purchase but the card had been cancelled. On 28 January, she was taken into custody after the police caught her with the patient’s card. Initially, the worker denied theft and said that she had found it on the floor and accidentally mixed it up with her personal card.

Her sentence

But yesterday, Basharat appeared at the Birmingham Crown Court where it was revealed that the cards were impossible to mix up because they were two different colours. Furthermore she was accused of ignoring hospital policy on returning lost property from patients. She finally pleaded guilty, but she escaped jail time. She was given a 5-monthsuspended sentence instead.

The investigator office on the case, DC Andrew Snowdon commented:

This was an abhorrent breach of trust and distressing for the victim's family.
They were having to come to terms with the death of a loved one from COVID when they found the bank card missing—and then of course the realisation that the card was taken by someone who should have been caring for her.
Our Hospital Liaison Officer worked closely with Heartlands security team to gather evidence in this case. I'd like to thank them and the victim's family for their support during the investigation.
I wish the family all the best for the future and with this conviction hope they can move on from this upsetting episode.
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