Covid-19 ward assistant used dead patient's card to buy sweets and fizzy drinks

10 June 2021, 10:39 | Updated: 10 June 2021, 10:40

The 23-year-old used the bank card multiple times at a hospital vending machine.
The 23-year-old used the bank card multiple times at a hospital vending machine. Picture: West Midlands Police

By Emma Soteriou

A healthcare assistant working on a Covid-19 ward used a dead patient's bank card to buy sweets and fizzy drinks.

Ayesha Basharat, from Farm Road, Birmingham, was caught on CCTV using the card at a vending machine in Heartlands Hospital just 17 minutes after the patient's time of death on 24 January.

Basharat made six purchases with contactless payment. She returned to make another one-pound purchase in the evening.

However, her two more attempts to use the card - when she went back to work on 28 January - failed due to it having been cancelled.

West Midlands police arrested the 23-year-old during her shift, while she was still in possession of the card.

The hospital worker first claimed that she found the card on the floor and got it “muddled up” with her own, but they were different colours.

A court also heard that she ignored hospital protocol around patient lost property.

Basharat later admitted to theft and fraud by false representation and, at Birmingham Crown Court on 9 June, was given two five-month jail terms, which were suspended for a year and a half.

Investigating officer DC Andrew Snowdon, from the Criminal Investigation Department, said: "This was an abhorrent breach of trust and distressing for the victim’s family.

"They were having to come to terms with the death of a loved one from Covid when they found the bank card missing – and then of course the realisation that the card was taken by someone who should have been caring for her.

"Our Hospital Liaison Officer worked closely with Heartlands security team to gather evidence in this case.

"I’d like to thank them and the victim’s family for their support during the investigation.

"I wish the family all the best for the future and with this conviction hope they can move on from this upsetting episode."