Ayesha Basharat was handed a suspended sentence (Image: WMP / SWNS)

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A heartless hospital worker who used a patient's bank card to buy crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks just minutes after she died from Covid has been spared jail.

Shameless Ayesha Basharat, 23, took the 83-year-old woman's card after she died at Birmingham's Heartlands Hospital on January 24.

The assistant, who was working on a Covid ward at the time, then helped herself to several snacks from a hospital vending machine.

A doctor recorded the OAP's death at 1.56pm and Basharat was captured on camera just 17 minutes later making six £1 contactless purchases.

She later made another £1 purchase that evening and tried again twice when she next returned to work four days later on January 28.

Ayesha Basharat seen using the vending machine
(Image: WMP / SWNS)

But by that time the card had been cancelled and police arrested her during her shift on Ward One still in possession of the victim's card.

Basharat, of Farm Road, Sparkbrook, Birmingham initially claimed she found it on the floor and got it "muddled up" with her own card when paying.

But a court heard how the bank cards were different colours and that Basharat had ignored hospital protocol around patient lost property.

Basharat went on to admit theft and fraud by false representation at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday.

But she avoided jail after being sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

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Detective Constable Andrew Snowdon, from West Midlands Police, said: "This was an abhorrent breach of trust and distressing for the victim's family.

"They were having to come to terms with the death of a loved one from Covid when they found the bank card missing – and then of course the realisation that the card was taken by someone who should have been caring for her.

"Our Hospital Liaison Officer worked closely with Heartlands security team to gather evidence in this case.

"I'd like to thank them and the victim's family for their support during the investigation.

"I wish the family all the best for the future and with this conviction hope they can move on from this upsetting episode."

The Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham
(Image: SWNS)

A spokesperson for University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Heartlands Hospital, said: "Ayesha Basharat was immediately suspended when this incident came to light and all steps were taken to support the patient's family.

"The Trust has fully supported the Police with their investigation and a result of Ms Basharat's conviction.

"The Trust will now proceed with our internal HR processes, with due consideration given to the criminal conviction that Ms Basharat has received.

"We would like to offer our sympathies to the patient's family and sincerely apologise for their experience.

"This incident is disgraceful and clearly fell short of the high standards of integrity that we all expect of NHS employees."