Following the urgent background checks ordered on 3,000 foreign doctors, Prospects is urging employers not to take degree certificates at face value.
The call for checks follows an investigation into Zholia Alemi, whose medical degree from the University of Auckland in New Zealand was not properly verified when she was appointed an NHS psychiatrist in 1995.
Prospects runs Hedd, the UK’s national degree verification and university authentication service. Chief Executive, Jayne Rowley said:
“Zholia was recruited in the 1990s before the robust processes of the NHS and General Medical Council (GMC) were introduced. Under regulations covering the Commonwealth at that time, she did not have to take an exam in the UK to join the GMC register. Her fake medical qualification was only discovered when she was convicted of fraud and theft after taking advantage of a vulnerable patient. As the checks on over 3,000 medical doctors working in the UK commence, let’s hope this wicked and abhorrent abuse of trust is an isolated case.
“This should act as a wake-up call to anyone recruiting graduates, particularly those in positions of power. There are some common traits to fake certificates such as dated terminology, but proper checks with the awarding bodies are essential. This is the only way to ensure the people we recruit are telling the truth about their credentials.”
Prospects has produced a free toolkit for employers to help protect businesses from degree fraud. It also offers a free online service to check if a UK university or college is a recognised degree-awarding body.
5 top tips for businesses
- Notify applicants that you verify qualifications – if they refuse it could be a signal that something is off-kilter
- Only accept original – not photocopied – certificates
- Check certificates with the issuing university or via Hedd
- Don’t be duped by official-looking stamps – they are easy to buy online
- Check the legitimacy of a university on hedd.ac.uk – if it’s not listed it’s likely to be fake
For further information visit www.hedd.ac.uk