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Woman held in 'fake' nurse probe

Detectives have arrested a woman suspected of treating hundreds of patients by posing as a registered nurse for four years without being properly qualified.

The 46-year-old was held on suspicion of fraud by police investigating her employment at four GP surgeries in Medway, Kent, from August 2006 to September last year.

More than 1,400 people, including children, who received vaccinations and cervical smears from her are being contacted by health officials.

Women who had their last cervical smear with the woman are being offered a repeat test and some extra vaccinations are also being offered.

At a news conference, NHS Kent and Medway said the woman, who lives in Brecon, mid-Wales and has been bailed until next month, has a background as a healthcare assistant.

Officials said she allegedly gained a position as a registered nurse without the proper qualifications, prompting an inquiry by Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson said: "The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are conducting an investigation into a member of staff who worked at some GP surgeries in Medway between August 2006 and September 2010."

Dr James Thallon, medical co-director for NHS Kent and Medway, said: "We carried out an immediate review to check that the standard of care we expect patients to receive has been maintained. Our investigations have not found any problems with the work this person has carried out and there is no reason to believe that there has been any harm to anyone's health.

"As a purely precautionary measure, we have written to some patients individually to invite them to be seen again. Patients can be reassured that if they have not received a letter they do not need to do anything further."

He added that the woman also worked at a practice in Essex and health authorities there were adopting a similar response.

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