Headlines: April 30th, 1999

Health Minister John Denham has announced an innovative counter fraud scheme as part of the strategy launched in December 1998. Fraud will be tackled at local, regional and national levels.

The principal target will be prescription charge evasion which annually is costing in excess of 150 million pounds. Fraud and corruption extends beyond prescriptions and pharmacists, opticians, dentists, GPs as well as people within NHS Trusts are involved.

A Counter Fraud Operational Service made up of a national and regional teams is being set up. The teams will be formed by fraud specialists, recruited mainly from outside the NHS. In addition, Health Authorities and NHS Trusts will have a professional counter fraud specialist, who will investigate local incidents of fraud. The specialists will be nominated by local management from existing staff. They will receive professional training in countering fraud