NHS counter fraud agency goes live

2 Nov 17

An NHS counter fraud agency has been launched this week to tackle fraud, bribery and corruption, which is costing the health service £1.25bn a year.

It is estimated that prescription fraud alone costs the NHS £217m each year.

The NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) will work as an independent authority tasked with stamping out economic crime targeting the NHS.

Sue Frith, interim chief executive of NHSCFA, said: “Our creation is good news for the taxpayer, for patients and for the honest majority working in and with the health service.”

The £1.25bn lost each year would be enough to pay for over 40,000 staff nurses, or to purchase over 5,000 frontline ambulances.

Simon Hughes, interim chair of NHSCFA said: “Some of the challenges faced in this work include a limited awareness of fraud amongst NHS staff and significant under-reporting of fraud.

“Many people find it unthinkable that anyone would seek to defraud money meant for healthcare. Our ability to counter fraud has a direct impact on health care.

“Every fraud takes a service away from someone that needs it.”

The move was welcomed by Paul Baumann, chief financial officer at NHS England.

He stated it was essential that the health service’s commitment to providing high quality care while securing the best value for taxpayers is not undermined by fraud.

The body will:

  • provide a central investigation service for complex economic crime in the NHS
  • support the Department of Health's strategy for tackling fraudulent activity affecting the NHS
  • lead and influence the improvement of standards in counter fraud work across the NHS
  • lead and encourage fraud reporting across the NHS and wider health sector

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