Burnley man claimed £1,000 from NHS for attending ‘fake’ hospital appointments

A “MEAN” patient conned East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust out of about £1,100 in fake expenses’ claims for appointments he did not have, a court heard.

Paul Rydings (50) was entitled to get back his travelling costs and parking charges as he was on limited means. He had a disabled badge, so would not have had to pay parking charges, but made almost 50 bogus claims for visits he said he had made to Burnley General and the Royal Blackburn Hospitals.

Rydings has convictions for dishonesty and deception. In October he was given six weeks in jail, suspended for a year, with a 12-week curfew between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and had been ordered to pay £500 compensation.

Rydings, of Chiltern Avenue, Burnley, had admitted fraud by false representation between April and November last year, at Burnley Magistrates’ Court. He then appealed against the sentence at the town’s crown court, where a judge, sitting with two justices, threw it out.

Recorder Mark Ford, who said Rydings’s conduct had been persistent, told him: “We do not feel it would be proper to interfere with the decision and the appeal is dismissed.”

Miss Elizabeth Nicholls (for the Crown) told the hearing the appellant was entitled to expenses for hospital visits.

He submitted claims and last September questions were raised about them. It would appear he had sent in 48 claims – 22 for the Royal Blackburn Hospital and 26 for Burnley General. They included both travelling and parking expenses but Rydings would not have incurred parking costs as he had a disabled badge.

Miss Nicholls said investigations were carried out and found no hospital appointments for any of the attendances he had claimed for. The appellant was questioned by police and told officers the claims were taxi expenses.

Further inquiries revealed Rydings had attended at the hospital pharmacy once. Forty-seven out of the 48 claims were fraudulent. During the period of the fraud there were hospital appointments for which he was entitled to claim and he would have received £92.

Mr Martin Hackett (defending) said: “This is a mean case.” Rydings was entitled to a benefit and took advantage.