TWO SISTERS who defrauded the NHS out of nearly £100,000 risk being struck from the nursing register.
Pauline Zvorwadza, of The Vale, Feltham, and her sister Mavis Zvorwadza, of Barking, were both convicted of lying about their nationality to gain places on an undergraduate nursing programme.
The Zimbabwean cheated the NHS out of £54,000 and £43,000 respectively in fees and bursary payments.
They were each convicted at Kingston Crown Court on March 7 of two counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception and one count of using a false instrument.
Mavis Zworwadza, 20, was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to do 230 hours of community service as well as pay back all the money.
Her 24-year-old sister, who was also convicted of one count of failure to disclose, was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence and 300 hours of community service. She was also ordered to pay back the funds obtained by deception.
Pauline Zvorwadza has already been sacked from her job as a theatre nurse by the NHS trust for which she worked, while her younger sister has been suspended.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council on March 8 issued both women with a year-long interim suspension order while it investigates whether they should be banned.
In the case of both women, the watchdog's panel ruled that the seriousness of the allegations meant a suspension was warranted on the grounds of public interest.
"The registrant has effectively obtained her education as a nurse as a result of forgery and the dishonest obtaining of funds by deception," its verdict for both women stated.
"In spite of the fact that the offences to which she has pleaded guilty are offences of intent and dishonesty, the registrant has told us that they were the result of ignorance of the way the system operated and of her trust in a third person.
"In the panel's view the evidence at present demonstrates only limited insight into the seriousness of her wrongdoing and the panel cannot be confident that there is no risk of a repetition of similar conduct if no order is made."
A spokeswoman for the NMC refused to say at this stage in the investigation which NHS trust was involved.