Ipswich practice manager accused of stealing £264,000 from her doctors’ surgery
- Credit: Archant
An Ipswich doctors’ surgery practice manager has pleaded guilty to a charge alleging she stole nearly £265,000 from her employer.
Although Caryl Heath, of Farriers Close, Martlesham, admitted theft by employee, Ipswich magistrates heard she may dispute the amount of money she is said to have stolen.
The theft took place over a seven-year period.
It is alleged the 55-year-old took £263,802.90 from Burlington Primary Care in Burlington Road, where she had worked for more than 20 years.
Before Heath entered her plea Clerk of the Court Richard Newman explained to her what would happen if she admitted the offence.
Jane Foster, prosecuting, told magistrates: “You have heard the value of the amount in question, but in my submission this case should go to the crown court. It’s a high value theft over a long period of time.”
The offence is said to have occurred between May 8, 2005 and July 25, 2014.
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The court was told Heath was the practice manager and was responsible for paying all the employees, including herself.
Hugh Rowland, representing Heath, said: “Although there is a guilty plea now, the value of the amount taken is not necessarily accepted and there is still work to be done in relation to that.
“I very strongly suspect this matter will be beyond your powers of sentencing.”
The matter was sent to Ipswich Crown Court as the magistrates agreed their sentencing powers were insufficient.
A date will be set for Heath’s sentencing in due course.
At the end of the hearing, which lasted around five minutes, she was released on unconditional bail.
Heath was charged on June 15 after a long-running inquiry by Suffolk Constabulary. She had been arrested in August last year, although matters are understood to have come to light before then.
Heath, who is originally from Essex, had been in overall administrative control at the practice.
She joined Burlington Primary Care in 1993 and worked her way up, being promoted from assistant manager to manager.
Her responsibilities included staff issues, finances, patient liaison and negotiating with Primary Care Trust, hospitals and other practices.
Burlington Primary Care was lauded as the ‘Best Practice Team Award Winners 2015’ by The Royal College of General Practitioners, East Anglia Faculty.