A SENIOR manager and two of his accomplices have been jailed for a total of nearly ten years for a £3.5 million fraud on the NHS.

Among the trusts Neil Wood, 41, plundered over seven years was the trust responsible for Bootham Park Hospital until October last year – Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

When he worked at the trust and later after he moved to a post with NHS England, Wood, 41, siphoned off funds for himself, his wife Lisa, 40, and his friends Huw Grove, 43, and Terry Dixon, 46.

Neil Wood and Grove exchanged emails in which they planned to charge the NHS for tickets for sports event, trips to London, dinners in expensive restaurants and other items.

According to Simon Higginbotham, specialist fraud lawyer at the CPS, Wood received more than half of the £3.5 million he took from the Yorkshire trust, Leeds Community Healthcare Trust and NHS England, by outsourcing service contracts to his friends for work that could have been done in-house.

Wood, of Heydon Close, Meanwood, Leeds, was jailed for four years and eight months after admitting two conspiracies to commit fraud by abuse of position.

Grove, of Field Farm Close, Bristol, convicted by a jury of the same conspiracies, was jailed for four years.

Terry Dixon, of New Dixton Road, Monmouth, convicted by a jury of one of the conspiracies, was jailed for a year and Lisa Wood, of Heydon Close, Meanwood, Leeds, was given a 16-month prison sentence suspended for two years after admitting money laundering.

Her husband also admitted a conspiracy to defraud by false representation.

Sue Frith, managing director of NHS Protect, said: “These criminals boasted about how much money they could steal from the NHS, with not a thought about the consequences for patients.

Going forward, “NHS Protect is advising the trust on measures to prevent fraud,” she added.

The four were brought to justice by a joint operation between her organisation, the North East police regional asset recovery team and HM Revenue and Customs.

Apart from Bootham Hospital, the Yorkshire trust was responsible for mental health and mental disability services at Acomb Gables, Acomb; Clifton Hospital; Peppermill Court, York; Selby War Memorial Hospital; Meadowfields Cue in York; Worsley Court, Selby; York Hospital; Cherry Tree House, York; Field View, York; Mill Lodge Community Unit, Huntington; Oak Rise, Acomb; Selby North Children’s Centre; Systems House, Clifton and The Avenue clinic, Clifton.