A GWENT doctor accused of fraud told a court she took on locum work while on sick leave with stress and depression in order to maintain her "clinical confidence".

Accident and emergency doctor Lucy Dawson, 45, of The Narth, Monmouth, is standing trial at Newport Crown Court charged with two counts of fraud by failing to disclose information.

She denies the charges.

It is alleged she claimed nearly £30,000 in sick pay from the Aneurin Bevan Health Board while working as a £800-a-day locum in England.

Dawson is alleged to have taken the sick leave between October 13 and 23, 2009, and November 9, 2009, to May 14, 2010.

Giving evidence, Dawson said she had an "exemplary" work record before 2006 but when she ended a 13-year relationship with her then line manager Nicholas Jenkins, she felt as if he was making her working life "difficult".

Dawson, who was working at Abergavenny’s Nevill Hall Hospital at the time, said this included her confidentiality being breached when she sent Mr Jenkins a private e-mail with concerns she had about a colleague.

This led to Mr Jenkins being removed as her line manager but the colleague she had raised concerns about became her new line manager making a "very difficult situation".

Dawson said she felt like she was viewed as "a troublemaker"

after raising two further concerns in the workplace and when her new line manager made a complaint that Dawson was bullying her.

This led to Dawson being suspended in November 2007 for 12 months while an investigation was carried out which found against her.

Dawson said: "I was overcome by the injustice of it all."

Dawson went back to work after her suspension working at the Royal Gwent but later went on sick.

She said: "All I needed was someone to acknowledge that I’d been treated unfairly. All I really wanted was an apology."

Talking about taking on the locum work which she described as "reassuring and refreshing", she claimed it was to maintain clinical confidence.

She said: "If you’re not in there doing it, then you can lose confidence of dealing with things quickly and making quick decisions."