Headlines: January 10th, 2007

NHS FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD RELEASES FUNDS FOR PATIENT CARE

 

Counter fraud measures in the National Health Service have meant an extra 811 million pounds has been availabe to spend on patient care in the last seven years, according to new figures published as the man who has headed the service’s fight against fraud announced that he was leaving his post

The NHS Counter Fraud Service Performance Statistics for 1999 to 2006 show that fraud committed by patients has fallen by 55 per cent from 171 million pounds in 1998 to 76 million pounds last year. The figures also show fraud by health service professionals is falling by up to 60 per cent in key areas and that there have been 360 prosecutions and 434 civil and disciplinary sanctions. More than 500 professionally trained and accredited counter fraud specialists are now in place within the NHS.

The latest figures came as Jim Gee, the Department of Health’s Director of Counter Fraud Services, announced he is leaving to take up a similar post with KPMG. He will be replaced by his deputy, Steve Phillips. Mr. Gee led the successful civil action to recover more than 30 million pounds from a number of generic drug companies.

The Health Minister Rosie Winterton said fraud was not a victimless crime. “In respect of the NHS, it is patients who are losing out, which is why this success is so important. With less money being lost, more money is reaching the frontline,” she said.

Mr. Gee said it was satisfying to see hundreds of millions of pounds freed up for patient care and he paid tribute to the NHS staff, patients and stakeholders who had supported the action agasinst fraud. In addition to his specific role with the NHS he has played a big part in the Government’s Fraud Review and has been Director-General of the European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network.