A health trust employee ran up a £1,000 calling a premium rate gay chat line from work.

The bill was discovered by a telecoms consultant who was reviewing telecommunications at the Havering Primary Care Trust (PCT), which runs GP and dentist surgeries across the borough as well as St George’s Hospital in Hornchurch.

He estimated the employee had been calling the line for up to a year during 2006, and reported the incident to be among a number of areas in which he believes thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money could have been saved.

A spokesman for the PCT told the Romford Recorder:

“The trust was aware of an issue.

“This has been dealt with internally and had been appropriately resolved, which would include dealing with any outstanding monies, if appropriate.”

The spokesman added that during the past two years, the PCT has made savings in excess of £24 million and will announce a surplus at the end of the year.