Fraud against the NHS will not be tolerated

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Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust is designating November to Fraud Awareness Month (FAM) to coincide with International Fraud Awareness Week from November 16 to 22.

The Trust’s local counter fraud specialist, Nicki Foley, will give presentations to staff across Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole hospitals as well as visiting wards and departments to increase awareness of fraud related issues in terms of recognising and reporting NHS fraud.

Types of NHS fraud and those who commit it vary; for example patients may attempt to avoid paying prescription charges by falsely claiming exemptions or claiming for travelling expenses that they are either not entitled to or have not incurred; staff may attempt to gain employment with false documentation, or claim pay for shifts they did not work or work elsewhere whilst off sick from the Trust; and contractors may exaggerate or falsify records of NHS work or goods provided.

Nicki said: “The Trust is committed to ensuring that the public funds of the NHS are spent on caring for patients and not diverted into fraudsters’ pockets.

“Most people who work in and use the NHS are honest, but unfortunately there is a minority that tries to defraud it of its valuable resources. Fraud is not just committed by staff but also by patients and those who provide goods and services to the NHS.

“We try to ensure that such fraudsters are dealt with in the most appropriate manner and this can mean being prosecuted through the criminal courts. We also seek to recover monies that have been defrauded and where NHS staff are involved the Trust will also take disciplinary action and refer them to their professional body for further possible sanctions.”

Marcus Hassall, the Trust’s director of finance, said: “Fraud against the NHS is not a victimless crime because these valuable funds are meant for patient care. We want to send a clear message that fraud will not be tolerated in our Trust and we will support the prosecution of offenders.”

Anyone wanting to report suspected fraud or corruption at the Trust, call the local counter fraud specialist on (01724) 282282 extension 2994 or call the NHS fraud and corruption reporting line on 0800 028 40 60 or visit, www.reportnhsfraud.nhs.uk