NHS manager who earned £1m jailed for fabricating qualifications

The Old Bailey, London
Jon Andrewes lied over his work history, falsely claiming to have worked in the Home Office. Photograph: Andrew Holt/Getty Images

A former probation officer who earned more than £1m working in very senior NHS management roles after he fabricated qualifications has been jailed for two years.

Jon Andrewes, 63, claimed to have two PhDs and a master’s degree but only had a higher education diploma in social work and a teaching qualification. He also lied over his work history, falsely claiming to have worked in the Home Office.

Andrewes, who styled himself Dr though he had no right to the title, worked for more than a decade in various senior health jobs across the south-west of England. His roles included chairman of the Royal Cornwall hospital trust, chief executive at St Margaret’s hospice in Taunton and temporary chair of Torbay NHS trust.

Sentencing him at Exeter crown court, Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC told Andrewes: “For a period of over 10 years your outwardly prestigious life was based upon a lie, a series of staggering lies, repeated lies about your education, and employment background and your experience, lies by which you obtained responsible positions.”

He said Andrewes would not have held those roles if he had told the truth and he had caused real damage to public confidence in the organisations he worked in.

Andrewes falsely claimed to have:

• A diploma from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

• A PhD in ethics management from Plymouth University

• A PhD in business administration from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh

• A master’s from the University of Edinburgh

• A degree from the University of Bristol.

After the hearing, Alex Johnson, a senior crown prosecutor with the CPS’s specialist fraud division, said: “Jon Andrewes repeatedly lied on his CV in order to better his chances of securing lucrative senior roles across the health service. The investigation team built a case which clearly outlined the scale of the deception and, faced with the evidence against him, Andrewes pleaded guilty.”

Andrewes, of Totnes in Devon, admitted two counts of fraud and one count of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception. The prosecution followed an investigation by anti-fraud officials at the Department of Health.

Cameron Brown, prosecuting, said Andrewes earned more than £1m during a 10-year period and the prosecution did not accept his claim that he had performed excellently during his time at various NHS bodies, saying he was rated as “unsatisfactory” in some of his jobs.

Ros Collins, defending, said Andrewes was extremely regretful and remorseful at his “sheer stupidity” in fabricating his educational qualifications. She said: “He has every respect for his former employers. He is very distressed for causing them any embarrassment. He has been loyal to the caring profession for many, many years.”

Collins said the sham qualifications gave him a “foot in the door” but making a success of it was down to him. She added: “These things happen where people inflate their CV out of desperation to get work.”

The court was told there was an ongoing NHS investigation into how Andrewes was able to hoodwink his way into senior roles.