‘Housebound’ mum jetted off around the world while suing NHS for £5.7m
A mum trying to con the NHS out of more than £5.7million as she jetted off around the world.
Devious Linda Metcalf, 37, has been jailed after claiming she was "housebound" and could hardly walk or stand, rarely went out and couldn't even dress herself.
She claimed her local trust's medical negligence meant she needed sticks to get around and was unable to drive.
When she was put under surveillance, rather than being housebound it was discovered she had been travelling all over the globe, the Mirror reports.
Between her visits to doctors, she jetted off to New Zealand, Fiji, Hong Kong, Thailand, Lanzarote and Tenerife as well as visiting various places in the UK.
Mum Metcalf launched her huge medical negligence claim against her local NHS trust, Calderdale and Huddersfield, after a 24-hour delay in diagnosis of a spine condition.
She had accepted a first payment of £75,000 before her lies were exposed.
A judge at Leeds Combined Court was told she now admits lying about the extent of her mobility problems and she was jailed for six months.
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The court heard how she told a Harley Street doctor in October 2017 she could hardly walk. But in that same month, she went on overnight trips to the Peak District, Wales and York.
Then in November she went to stay in a country house in Cheshire and had a holiday to Lanzarote.
Over Christmas, she went to County Durham, the Lake District and Scotland at the end of January, before she then headed off on a five-week trip until March, to Singapore, Fiji, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
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Claire Toogood acting on behalf of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust said no admission was made by the defendant until she was "caught out" by the surveillance tapes.
She said: "The trust’s submission is, it is difficult to conceive of a case involving so many instances of contempt over such a long period of time."
Toogood said it involved "such a lot of money from a public body, namely the NHS, which can ill afford to pay out on fraudulent or exaggerated claims".
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Metcalf claimed she needed two sticks to walk just 30 metres, and hired a mobility scooter for trips to the local supermarket. She also asserted she needed a special chair to help her stand.
Footage showed her driving, walking up steps, walking without sticks and queuing for half an hour in a hotel reception unaided.
Ms Toogood said the doctor who saw Metcalf said he was "fundamentally misled" by Metcalf during the examination.
Metcalf, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, but living in Stockport, Greater Manchester, was said to have been "horrified" by her own dishonesty.
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Peter Gilmour, representing her, said: "It was something that she drifted into and is now horrified, looking back, at what she did and how dishonest she was.
"She has ruined her life and she’s brought shame on herself and her family. She has genuine remorse."
Jailing Metcalf, Mr Justice Griffiths stressed how significant the losses would have been on the NHS.
He said: "She gave a completely stage-managed appearance about her disability.
"She was misleading, and that was shown on more than one occasion.
"It was not a one-off, it was a course of conduct which was sustained relentlessly over a course of years."
A spokesman for the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The proceedings should not deter genuine claimants
"The case should, however, be seen as a demonstration of our commitment to combatting fraud against the NHS when everyone is working so hard to care for patients in genuine need."
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