A former NHS Trust chief executive today pleaded guilty to landing the #115,000-a-year post by falsely claiming to be a graduate.
Neil Taylor (pictured) also admitted that he had produced a bogus degree certificate purporting to be from the University of Nottingham in a bid to cling on to his job as head of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust.
Taylor, who resigned last October, entered guilty pleas to one count of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and one of attempting to commit the same offence when he appeared before magistrates in Shrewsbury.
The 42-year-old defendant, of School Lane, Solihull, West Midlands, was granted unconditional bail to re-appear for sentence at Shrewsbury Crown Court on a date to be fixed.
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John Snell, prosecuting, told the court that Taylor had been the chief executive of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital before it merged with the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford to form the new trust in 2003.
Detailing the forger's successful bid to head the merged Trust, Mr Snell added: "The untruths he had told were that he was a graduate (of the University of Nottingham) and he had a 1st degree, which he had not, and that he had a graduate diploma from the self-same university."
Magistrates were told that Taylor had merely attended a two-day course in Nottingham to assess whether he could take the diploma.
He had also stated that he was a graduate of the Institute of Personnel Development at Nottingham, despite the fact that the university did not offer such a course.
The court heard that the deception came to light during a salary review following the merger between the two Shropshire Trusts.
Defence solicitor Adrian Roberts said his client had landed the highly-paid post because of the excellent reputation he built up while chief executive of Birmingham's Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.
The lawyer said the interviewing panel had been unanimous in choosing Taylor as the best candidate.
"Mr Taylor has not done this for financial gain," Mr Roberts submitted.
"He was led into making these assertions - on the one hand that he had got a first degree and on the other by producing a false certificate - because of the pressure that he was under from the hospitals merging.
"Not only is he a man of good character, but beyond that he's a man of positive good character who has done what can only be described as an excellent job in sometimes difficult circumstances."
More on this story in Thursday's Birmingham Post