Littleport GP speaks for first time of manager's £100,000 theft that threw practice into turmoil and jeopardy 'by her selfish action and deception'

PUBLISHED: 09:21 03 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:21 03 March 2017

St George's Medical Centre, Littleport, which is recovering from a massive fraud by its former practice manager. PHOTO: John Elworthy

St George's Medical Centre, Littleport, which is recovering from a massive fraud by its former practice manager. PHOTO: John Elworthy

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A Littleport doctor has spoken for the first time of his manager Yvonne Bartram whose £100,000 theft "betrayed not just the partners and our families but the whole practice."

Dr Matt Stephens of St George's Medical Centre, Littleport. He has spoken for the first time about the betrayal of trust by former practice manager who stole £100,000Dr Matt Stephens of St George's Medical Centre, Littleport. He has spoken for the first time about the betrayal of trust by former practice manager who stole £100,000

Dr Matt Stephens said: “The practice – with 11,000 patients- was thrown into turmoil and jeopardy by Mrs Bartram’s selfish action, theft and deception

“She manipulated her position at the practice to conceal her actions from the partners and staff. She stole money (paid by the NHS to the practice) continuously over three years.

“This is just what we know about. There may well be other acts she has committed – only three of her 20 plus years of employment were investigated.”

Dr Stephens was speaking at St George’s Medical Centre where Mrs Bartram had been, until her discovery, practice manager and earning between £80-£100,000 a year.

Yvonne Bartram with some of her horses that have to be moved.Yvonne Bartram with some of her horses that have to be moved.

“Mrs Bartram was on an extremely generous profit sharing salary – certainly higher than most practice managers,” he said. “Despite this she stole additional huge amounts of money to live a life way beyond her means, funding her Elysian Horses business and helping her husband’s haulage business.

“She may also have given money to her daughter Lynsey who declared herself bankrupt in her 20s. Mrs Bartram stole many times per month by making electronic transfers to at least four different bank accounts.

“One month she greedily overpaid herself a breathtaking £15,000 – in addition to her already generous salary.”

The offences came to light when Dr Stephens, asked to sign off the annual accounts, was called into Mrs Bartram’s office. As she slipped away unexpectedly to take a call he noticed the accounts showing a £90,000 business loan.

“I thought what is this, it has never been mentioned before,” he said.

When challenged Mrs Bartram admitted she had taken the money and showed it as a loan, intending at some stage to repay it.

“Mrs Bartram told your newspaper that she had over estimated her profit share and that it was a single mistake,” said Dr Stephens. “Yet she made this mistake only on her own payment and did it continuously, every month, three years in a row and making no such mistake on anyone else’s payments.”

He said she admitted guilt only after witnesses had been cross examined in court and overwhelming evidence presented against her.

“She thinks she deserved a second chance after all this?” he said. “We would be absolutely crazy to give a person like this a second chance.”

“She said ‘I made a single mistake’ – but it was not a single mistake,” said the GP. “She had made numerous individual payments every week to different accounts, ad hoc payments whenever she felt like it she sent some money out.

“Some months there were 10-15 payments – police tell me she had four different accounts. For the first two years she hid the payments in our annual accounts but by the third year our accountant told her it needed to be put down as a personal loan- he believed we had authorised it. We hadn’t.”

Dr Stephens said the claim by Mrs Bartram in last week’s Ely Standard that she had been ordered to pay back only £600 under the Proceeds of Crime Act was not correct.

“She has been ordered to pay back £73,000 although she took £100,000_” he said. “Because she stalled the case for years she has spent and hidden her vast haul. Now she says all she has is a white van – yet no mention has been made about her sales of premium horses, equipment only advertised online and puppies. Justice should have been served sooner and more appropriately.”

Dr Stephens said no serious attempt had been made to repay the money although at one stage she made a “ridiculous offer than would have taken over 100 years to pay back.”

Since her departure – and last year’s court case- he said the team at St George’s had regrouped and recovered “and we have built the practice into something far greater.”

With all criminal court proceedings now at an end, Dr Stephens said the practice would now progress to recover the missing funds through the civil courts.

“It makes me really angry – we’re the victims and it is very frustrating she is dragging it up again and almost ridiculing us by saying ‘I got away with it all’.”

He added: “She tries to make out she is a champion of the community and has the interest of the community at heart but it’s her own interest, her own greed she has at heart.”

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