Fraud accused nurse says work was ‘labour of love’

A woman accused of lying about her experience and qualifications to get a job as a senior nurse in a unit for sick and premature babies has told a jury that nursing was a “labour of love”.

Tanya Nasir, 45, from Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, is on trial at Cardiff Crown Court, accused of nine counts of fraud and false representation, which she denies.

The court also heard how concerns about her qualifications were raised by a matron at Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend who noticed a discrepancy on Ms Nasir’s nursing registration.

She told the hospital she was a major in the British Army reserve force and had been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, but no records to support her claim have been found.

She also said she had worked in one of London's biggest hospitals and had degrees in subjects including physics, astrophysics, forensic science and had taken courses in neonatal life support.

Ms Nasir told the court nursing was a "labour of love" and she had cared for thousands of patients during her career.

She rejected accusations she had lied to Princess of Wales Hospital officials and the Hillingdon Hospital in London about her background.

She began working in the neonatal unit in Bridgend in September 2019.

A few months later, in January 2020, neonatal matron Sian Townsend became concerned about Ms Nasir’s real qualifications when she conducted a revalidation of her registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

These registrations, which have to be revalidated every three years, have a unique NMC number which includes the year they first registered as a qualified nurse.

Ms Townsend noticed the year in Ms Nasir's NMC number did not match the information she had given in her application form and interview about qualifying as a nurse in 2010.

Ms Townsend told her she could not sign off her re-registration until she saw proof.

Prosecutor Emma Harris said the matron's concerns began the chain of events that Ms Nasir tried to stop, saying Ms Townsend was “the first person to challenge your CV”.

“You knew you were being found out and your web of lies was starting to unravel,” she said, accusing Ms Nasir of faking a letter from Buckingham New University to try to explain the date mismatch.

Ms Nasir denied creating a fake document, saying she did not “need to cover anything up”.

She also said she had worked hard to achieve her qualifications, describing the investigation into her alleged fraud as “horrendous”.

“It's been a hard slog, I've had a multitude of jobs and lots of training. There are no short cuts. You acquire these skills and this knowledge so you can provide the best service,” she said.

"All the information in my application form is true."

Princess of Wales Hospital
Tanya Nasir began working in the neonatal unit at Princess of Wales Hospital in September 2019, but concerns about her qualifications were raised within months [BBC]

On her application form for the job at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Ms Nasir said she was serving with the Royal British Army.

The Army has confirmed Ms Nasir has not served with the regular or reserve Army. She was a volunteer with her local Army Cadet force, but volunteers were not deployed overseas.

Ms Harris said "there is no such thing as the Royal British Army", asking Ms Nasir why she called it that.

"I'm not sure.....That's what I thought it was called,” Ms Nasir replied.

She said she had worked in a field hospital in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as a combat medic, and when asked how she had travelled to the country, she told the court: "A normal plane... possibly from Heathrow or Gatwick."

Ms Harris put it to her that she had never been deployed in a warzone and her claims that she had been sent into a warzone with just a rucksack were untrue.

Ms Nasir told her: "I have volunteered."

Ms Harris then asked her if it was “all a fantasy”, to which Ms Nasir replied: “No.”

Ms Nasir said she had served with the Army in Kenya and had worked in Nairobi feeding and clothing displaced people and reading to children.

She also said she had spent time at the British Army base of Akrotiri in Greece, claiming Akrotiri was in north Cyprus.

The court heard part of the internal investigation by the Princess of Wales Hospital looked at an allegation Ms Nasir had told colleagues in the neonatal unit that she knew the child murderer Myra Hindley and had visited her at Broadmoor Prison.