NHS director Peter Lewis jailed over corrupt hospital contract

Peter Lewis and Richard Moxon Image copyright Surrey Police/PA Wire
Image caption NHS trust director Peter Lewis (left) and IT director Richard Moxon cooked up their illegal deal in an Indian restaurant

An NHS director who received £80,000 in corrupt payments for awarding a hospital IT contract has been jailed.

Peter Lewis, 57, of Windlesham, Surrey, admitted receiving payments from supplier Richard Moxon in return for the contract, worth £950,000.

The software recorded accident and emergency data at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford.

Both admitted corruption charges. Lewis was jailed for three-and-a-half years. Moxon got 14 months.

Moxon, 41, of Wybunbury, Cheshire gave Lewis nine payments totalling £73,770 and sent £7,200 to a stables owed money by Lewis.

'Dangling a carrot'

Sentencing, Judge Stephen Climie said: "Those charged with the financial management of the system are holding the very purse strings that can ultimately prevent pain and suffering or even death of patients.

"That role of financial management within the NHS was held by you, Lewis, in part when you became associate director for IT at the trust in 2009."

The judge disqualified both men as directors for 10 years and said there would be future confiscation proceedings.

Guildford Crown Court heard Lewis was first investigated for "unfairly favouring" an HR company that employed a woman with whom he was having an affair.

Image copyright RSCH
Image caption The contract involved software for the Accident & Emergency department at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford

A search of his emails uncovered invoices for the software payments.

The corruption led to Lewis's wife, Sue, resigning as the trust's chief operating officer and deputy chief executive. There was no suggestion she was involved.

Surrey Police said each month Moxon submitted multiple invoices from different companies he controlled.

All were at, or just below, £15,000 - the value Lewis was able to sign off himself.

Paul Ozin QC, prosecuting, said the defendants met at an Indian restaurant to arrange the corrupt deal.

"Mr Lewis said to Mr Moxon he could see how the proposal was of value to the trust but he couldn't quite see how it would benefit him.

"Mr Lewis was dangling a carrot to see what kind of reaction he would get," Mr Ozin added.

The Royal Surrey has since recovered some of the money.

Its deputy chief executive Alf Turner said Lewis "grossly abused the trust placed in him as a senior manager" and his actions had "defrauded Royal Surrey and the people it is here to serve of over £80,000".

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