Headlines: April 26th, 2002

Tougher checks on the eligibility of patents to get free dental care and free drugs on prescription have reduced fraud by 37% and saved the health service 58 million pounds. Patients must provide evidence that they are exempt from charges and if no evidence is produced checks are made to confirm claims. The target set in 1999, is to reduce prescription charge evasion by 50% by the end of the current financial year.Patient fraud is only one of the areas being tackled by the 400 specialists in Counter Fraud Service set up in 1999. There is substantial fraud by NHS staff and in some cases this has been cut by 30% in the last two years.

General practitioners have been prosecuted for fraud. In one case bogus prescriptions valued at 700,000 pounds were identified. Another GP claimed that night visits had increased from 200 visits per year to 500, but no extra visits had been made.

Dentist also engage in fraud. A dentist claimed 212,000 pounds over two years by submitting claims for patients who did not exist. Another dentist made duplicate claims for patients, making slight changes to their names, with a total value of more than 70,000 pounds.