Fake reference doctor from Hertfordshire admits fraud

A Hertfordshire doctor who forged a reference from a colleague so she could get a job with a medical agency has been given a suspended sentence.

Yan Zhang, 41, of The Causeway, Fureaux Pelham, got work with the Medacs agency after faking references from a Peterborough Hospital doctor.

She pleaded guilty to fraud between 22 September and 6 October last year.

Judge Andrew Bright QC, at St Albans Crown Court, passed a three-month jail sentence suspended for 12 months.

Zhang must carry out 100 hours unpaid work and pay £750 costs.

'Dishonest decision'

Zhang's case will now go before the General Medical Council and she could be struck off.

Judge Bright said: "This was very foolish and thoroughly dishonest decision to write a false reference. It was simply an act of dishonesty. It was a very serious offence."

The court heard she made an e-mail account in the name of Dr Howard Smith from Peterborough Hospital and wrote a flattering reference in his name.

But the court heard she had failed an anaesthetist course at Peterborough Hospital and was desperate to carry on working in the UK.

Prosecutor David Chrimes said Zhang had qualified as a doctor in China and had passed exams in the UK, but she had been released from the course at Peterborough.

As a result she applied to the agency and faked the reference from Dr Smith. She started work at a London hospital, where there were concerns about her work.

When the reference was checked Dr Smith said he had not provided it and would not have written what was said.

Zhang was arrested and made "full and frank admissions", said Mr Chrimes.

She told the police she had acted in desperation because she wanted to remain as a doctor in UK.

Gerald Colbon, representing Zhang, said she had been suspended from practice since her release. He asked for credit for her admissions and early guilty plea.

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