Headlines: July 27th, 1998

Health Minister Alan Milburn today announced a major recruitment drive to boost by 50 per cent the number of staff centrally tackling the 100 million pound annual cost of prescription fraud in the NHS.

The Prescription Pricing Authority’s Fraud Investigation Unit, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, is recruiting 20 more staff.

Mr Milburn said this was another significant stage in the Government’s action programme to stamp out fraud in the NHS.

With access to the latest in IT systems, and experience of conducting criminal investigations, they will boost the Fraud Investigation Unit’s ability to identify and catch fraudsters. The new bureau will work closely with the police nationally.

Alan Milburn said: “Fraud will not be tolerated in the new NHS. We promised action against fraud and we are delivering. Prescription fraud cost the NHS over £100 million every year. This new recruitment drive will give the PPA the staff it needs to help root out this problem, so that the NHS cash can be spent on patient care where it belongs.”

Jim Gee, the Government’s first NHS Fraud Supremo, said: ” Prescription fraudsters have no place to hide”.