Hospital worker Ayesha Basharat used a dead patient’s bank cards to buy crisps, sweets, and fizzy drinks – less than half-an-hour after the 83-year-old had passed away.
The 23-year-old was working on a Covid ward when she took the pensioner’s card after she died on January 24.
West Midlands Police say a doctor at Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital recorded the pensioner’s time of death at 1.56pm on January 24 – with Basharat using the card 17 minutes later to make six £1 purchases using the vending machine’s contactless touch pad.
The healthcare assistant made another £1 purchase that evening before trying again twice when she next returned to work on 28 January.
However by that time the card was cancelled and officers arrested her during her shift on the hospital’s ward one – where she was still in possession of the card.
Now hospital bosses have issued an apology to the pensioner’s family – and say they have fully supported the police during the investigation.
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Basharat, from Farm Road, Birmingham initially claimed she found the on the floor and got it “muddled up” with her own card when paying.
However, they were different colours and Birmingham Crown Court heard how she ignored hospital protocol around patient lost property.
She went on to admit theft and fraud by false representation. Yesterday the defendant was given two five-month jail terms to run concurrently, both suspended for 18 months.
Investigating officer DC Andrew Snowdon, of West Midlands Police’s CID, said: “This was an abhorrent breach of trust and distressing for the victim’s family.
“They were having to come to terms with the death of a loved one from Covid when they found the bank card missing – and then of course the realisation that the card was taken by someone who should have been caring for her.
“Our Hospital Liaison Officer worked closely with Heartlands security team to gather evidence in this case. I’d like to thank them and the victim’s family for their support during the investigation.
“I wish the family all the best for the future and with this conviction hope they can move on from this upsetting episode.”
The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Heartlands Hospital, said Basharat was suspended as soon as they heard about the incident.
A UHB spokesperson said: “Ayesha Basharat was immediately suspended when this incident came to light and all steps were taken to support the patient’s family.
“The Trust has fully supported the Police with their investigation and a result of Ms Basharat’s conviction, the Trust will now proceed with our internal HR processes, with due consideration given to the criminal conviction that Ms Basharat has received.
“We would like to offer our sympathies to the patient’s family and sincerely apologise for their experience; this incident is disgraceful and clearly fell short of the high standards of integrity that we all expect of NHS employees.”
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