Guilty nurse; Certificates questioned

by JJP

Fake certificates Stepping Hill Fake Qualifications

Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Victorino Chua, a 49 year old Filipino was convicted yesterday (May 18th 2015) of murdering two patients at Stockport’s Stepping Hill Hospital. He also poisoned others, although not fatally, by contaminating saline drips with insulin.

Inconsistencies were discovered when his certificates of qualification were examined.

Police investigations have been ongoing since July 2011 and resulted in charges being brought against Chua last year (2014).

During their inquiries, Greater Manchester Police became so concerned with the authenticity of the nurse’s qualifications they visited Manila, the capital of the Philippines to check on the validity of two certificates.

On the streets of Manila they found a number of suppliers openly touting counterfeit certificates that ranged from university degrees through to nursing certificates that were available for as little as £22.

Whilst police were unable to establish the absolute authenticity of both nursing certificates presented by Chua as an endorsement of his qualifications, they stated that they had no confidence in them as they did not correspond to each other.

This is not unusual as security documents evolve over time in order to keep pace with counterfeiting threats.  Chua’s qualifications dated back to 1989 and unless a detailed specification of the security features used and a record exists of the certificate being issued, it is difficult to establish positive proof of either forgery or counterfeiting.

Since most certificates of this type do not carry a sequential number, it is impossible to keep track of valid documents and since blanks can be stolen and then filled out later with bogus details, such ‘qualifications’ are worthless without linking them to a digital record or some form of biometric token, also linked to the certificate.

The worry is now, are there other untrained ‘qualified’ nurses out there in the system? More stringent controls have been put in place since 2007 to guard against these risks, but it still remains that paper certification of qualifications requires just as rigorous a process as those undertaken in the issuance of identification documents such as passports and national ID cards. When will this lesson really be learned?

About Jeremy Plimmer

Jeremy Plimmer has 35 years of experience in the security related print and packaging industry working originally as sales development director for manufacturers of passports, high security print and labels and more recently as a consultant. He is a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Fellow of the Institute of Minerals, Materials and Mining, chairman of the West Midlands Packaging Society as well as vice chairman of the East Midlands Packaging Society.

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About the foundation

The Product & Image Security Foundation is a non-profit making trade association which was originally formed under the name of Label & Tag Security International (LTSI) in the early 1990's.

Today it operates with more than 100 members in 27 countries and is the premier international forum for manufacturers, suppliers and users of labels, tags, packaging, identification systems, materials and systems for any form of product security, brand image protection or product traceability applications and technology.