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Psychiatrist guilty of writing own tranquiliser prescriptions

PUBLISHED: 13:49 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 07 September 2010

A DOCTOR has been sacked by Haringey Mental Health Trust after pleading guilty to writing false prescriptions for tranquilisers for herself. On Monday, Dr Chantal Piek, a 34-year-old psychiatrist from Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty at Watford Magistrate

A DOCTOR has been sacked by Haringey Mental Health Trust after pleading guilty to writing false prescriptions for tranquilisers for herself.

On Monday, Dr Chantal Piek, a 34-year-old psychiatrist from Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty at Watford Magistrates' Court to seven counts of forgery.

She was given a conditional discharge for 30 months, ordered to pay legal costs of £3,700 and has been suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC) for 18 months.

Dr Piek, who had been working for a drug and alcohol advice service, had written a series of prescriptions for two patients - one of which was fictitious - for cipralex, zopiclone and diazepam, before collecting the medicines for her own use.

She was employed by Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust and The Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, when one of the prescriptions was queried and referred to the NHS Counter Fraud Service (CFS).

An investigation found 23 occasions where falsified prescriptions were presented at pharmacies across London and Hertfordshire.

Mark Howard, London operational fraud manager at CFS, said: "This was an abuse of the doctor's position which we consider is very serious.

"The consequences of her actions mean she has been dismissed by Barnet, Enfield and Haringey and suspended by the Hertfordshire Partnership pending the outcome of this case.

"We need the small minority of doctors who are dishonest to understand that we will always consider taking a criminal prosecution in these cases and they should realise the true impact that these frauds will leave for themselves and their families."

A spokesman from Haringey Mental Health Trust said: "The Trust is satisfied with the outcome of this trial.

"Once we were alerted to the fraudulent activities of this doctor, we began the investigative and disciplinary processes which lead to this court case.

"While we are confident that no service users have been harmed, prescription fraud is not a victimless crime.

"As a criminal offence we treat it as an extremely serious matter.

"We always take action to deter, detect and where appropriate prosecute.


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