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HEALTH WORKER GETS BAN FOR DISHONESTY.

Byline: Alison Dayani

A HEARING aid dispenser and company director has been struck off for overcharging elderly patients.

Stephen Spencer was banned for his dishonesty at a disciplinary hearing by the Health Professions Council (HPC).

Spencer was a company director and shareholder of Solihull Specsavers Hearcare, in Drury Lane, Solihull, where he worked as a hearing aid dispenser from April 2003.

A HPC panel spokesman said: "Spencer, as shareholder and director of the company, would benefit if the company was profitable because he would be entitled as a shareholder to a distribution of profits.

"On the balance of probabilities, the Panel decided that Spencer had not made genuine mistakes.

"The overcharging of three clients were discovered after Spencer's resignation.

"Spencer was expressly stating to the customer that he was supplying X, but in fact supplying Y. "The Panel asked themselves whether this is a mistake that such an experienced hearing aid dispenser could have made. The Panel did not believe that it was.

"The overcharging of clients is in itself a serious matter and Spencer's dishonesty is particularly serious. "His clients included elderly and vulnerable people who trusted their hearing aid dispenser to charge them correctly and honestly.

"As a shareholder and director Spencer potentially stood to gain from a distribution of profits and overcharging of clients would contribute to profit. It was in Spencer's interests to maximise profit."

In one case, Spencer provided a woman with a lower specification of hearing aid than the pounds 1,595 model she had paid for.

It was during a routine audit of NHS work that problems surfaced over Spencer's record keeping and the director resigned in January last year, the hearing was told.

Spencer, who had an unblemished record, accepted that he overcharged the three clients, but said it was not deliberate and they were genuine mistakes.

The director was found guilty of failing to do proper assessments on five patients and overcharging three clients for hearing aids in 2008 and 2009.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 1, 2011
Words:338
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