Emergency services volunteer from South Tyneside altered doctor's note after being told he could return to work

An emergency services volunteer admitted altering a doctor’s note after being told he was fit to return to work.

By Sue Kirby
Thursday, 19th March 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 19th March 2020, 5:57 pm
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Simon James Brown, 35, pleaded guilty to two fraud related charges when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Brown, of Albert Road in Jarrow, had been volunteering with the fire service when they were called to a person threatening to jump off a bridge.

The court heard the defendant was plunged into poor mental health and suffered PTSD after the person died in the incident.

Jason Smith, defending said Brown was off work for some time and when his GP said he was fit to return to work he didn’t feel ready and altered the form to allow himself another four weeks off work.

Brown who was working at NHS Business Services at the time, admitted possession of the fit note in connection with fraud and fraudulently claiming £940.12, which has now been paid back, between December 2018 and January 2019.

Lorna Rimell, prosecuting, said Brown was of previous good character with no cautions or convictions.

Mr Smith said after a period of time off work Brown’s doctor decided it would be in his best interests to get back to work instead of sitting at home and that he was well enough to return.

However, he said: “Mr Brown didn’t feel he was fit to go back at that stage and altered the sick note saying he would be declared sick for another four weeks.”

Mr Smith said: “He just did it to have a little bit more time off to pull himself together, he wasn’t seeking any more money.”

He said Brown lost his job with the NHS because of the incident and is now working in a call centre.

Mr Smith added: “He is utterly devastated and very, very embarrassed. He can’t believe he is in this situation, in court with a dishonesty offence.”

A spokesman for the probation service said Brown had been in full employment since he was 18-years-old and there was no risk of him re-offending.

Brown was fined £96 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 surcharge.