A "BRAZEN and greedy” NHS nurse working for Gwent's health board was jailed for moonlighting while on sick leave from her well-paid job.

Rebecca Topczylko-Evans, 39, claimed she was too stressed and exhausted to do her daily rounds.

But after going on the sick she started night shifts at a care home, doubling her wages.


A court heard Topczylko-Evans pocketed £18,800 in sick pay over eight months before the NHS discovered the fraud.

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke told her: “You gave your manager sick notes to maintain the fiction that you were too ill to work.

“But your sickness was fake allowing you to obtain your salary and make extra money from a private nursing agency.”

Topczylko-Evans was on £43,000-a-year as a grade seven mental health nurse with the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

She was based in Abergavenny when she registered with privately-run agency Andover Nursing Service Ltd.

The court heard Topczylko-Evans told her NHS line manager she was too stressed to drive to work in Abergavenny.

But she did 53 shifts for the agency between March and November 2018, most of them at a care home in Abergavenny.

On one occasion she was on a night shift at the care home when she sent her NHS boss an email saying she was still unfit for work due to anxiety and panic attacks.

The agency also found Topczylko-Evans work with the NHS at Cwm Coch Mental Health Hospital in Swansea.

Topczylko-Evans claimed the Royal College of Nursing told her she could do agency work while on the sick from the NHS.

But her telephone call in February 2018 was recorded and she was given strong advice that she could be committing fraud.

The judge told her: “That call shows you were contemplating working for an agency while on sick leave from the NHS.

“You said you were stressed and exhausted but continued to work for the agency doing 53 shifts.

“You also did shifts at another NHS hospital so you were being paid twice by the NHS.”

Topczylko-Evans, of Pant, Merthyr Tydfil, admitted fraud but pleaded for a suspended sentence because of her four-year-old son who has special needs.


But Judge Lloyd-Clarke jailed her for eight months saying: “Your behaviour was dishonest from the outset and you maintained that dishonesty for many months.

“You gained money from an outside agency but also from the NHS.

“I have no doubt this very serious offence crosses the custody threshold.”

Topczylko-Evans was described as a hard-working married woman who was ashamed and remorseful for her actions.

Adam Smart, defending, said: “This was extremely brazen but was always likely to be discovered, it’s a surprise it wasn’t discovered earlier.

“There’s an element of greed but she has not enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, the money has gone towards her personal debts of £60,000.”

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court made no order for compensation or costs.

A spokesperson for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said after the case: “This type of conduct on the part of an NHS employee is dishonest, indefensible and unacceptable.

“The NHS will take appropriate action against any member of staff who behaves in this manner.”