Financial incentives for NHS fraud detection

20 May 99
The Department of Health is planning to introduce money-back financial incentives for health authorities across the country as part of its crackdown on fraud in the National Health Service.

21 May 1999

However, chief fraudbuster Jim Gee has ruled out adopting the systems used by local authorities and the Department of Social Security, which reward authorities for detecting fraud, whether or not any money is recovered.

Instead, he wants health authorities to focus on getting the money back. He told Public Finance: 'We need to ensure every authority is incentivised but, in my opinion, the systems in place in local authorities and the DSS have not helped in countering fraud. Our new system will concentrate on that.'

As director of counter-fraud services for the NHS, Gee is launching the second phase of his crackdown. With estimates of prescription fraud alone spiralling as high as £150m a year, he is in the final stages of setting up a national anti-fraud operating system, the first in the history of the NHS.

The counter-fraud directorate has already set up two specialist teams to fight prescription and dental fiddles, with a national mobile team tackling high-value complex frauds (Public Finance, April 30–May 6).

His work has also created a new profession for the health service: Gee has insisted on specialist training for all fraud investigators. He expects this training to kick-start a common standard for central government.

'By October, every health authority will have nominated a designated fraudbuster for free specialist training and I am keen to ensure there is a professional standard for fraudbusters. This can be easily translated across central government,' he said.


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