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Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee

 
 

2020health press release Stealing the NHS?

2020health launches new report on NHS Fraud.

At least £3.3 billion of taxpayer’s money is not being spent on genuine healthcare needs and many NHS hospitals are refusing to publish what they are doing to combat fraud, claims a new report by Julia Manning, Chief Executive of Think Tank 2020health.
The report titled: Stealing the NHS: How careless is the NHS being with our tax money? is based on the findings of a survey of 357 NHS Trusts including hospitals and Primary Care Trusts.
It found:

  • 13 NHS Trusts had in one or more of the past 3 years undertaken NO fraud investigations – the most was 90 in one year.
  • Only half of Foundation Trusts (and all Hospitals have been told they have to become Foundation Trusts) responded to the survey – compared to 87% of PCTs - and half of these said their fraud monitoring details were secret.
  • The current regulations only ask about the activity reporting process, not any outcomes e.g. how much money has gone missing or how they have reduced fraud.

Julia Manning said: “We were shocked at the complacency of some NHS Trusts. They seem to have forgotten that it is our tax money that they are responsible for and that we have a right to know that it's being spent on healthcare. Others Trusts were obviously taking scrutiny of their spending very seriously. At a time when the NHS is being asked to save £4bn a year it’s incredible to think that so much money is being stolen while patients are being denied new drugs.”

The report recommends:

  1. End to secrecy - Clarification of NHS Trust responsibility around reporting of counter fraud activity and spending to the public to enable transparency and accountability.
  2. Outcomes not process - Change in the reporting requirements to provide clear and accurate outcomes information about how much losses are, to what extent they have been reduced, to what extent fraud losses have been recovered, and what preventative measures are in place.
  3. Consequences for concealment - Fine NHS Trusts who do not publish their counter fraud outcomes.


 Jim Gee, Director of Counter Fraud Services at PKF (UK) LLP who ran the NHS Counter Fraud service from 1998-2006 said: “This is an important and valuable study which shows both the progress which has been made and what still needs to be done – especially at a local level. Over the last decade or so it has become possible to treat fraud losses like any other business cost – something to be accurately measured and minimised. Work to tackle fraud has to be about outcomes of this type – in the NHS measuring and reducing the cost of fraud so that more resources are available for the best possible patient care. Every NHS organisation should have a programme in place to do this – if they don’t know the nature and scale of their fraud problem, then how can they apply the right solution?”

END
 

Editor's Notes

Response rates:
249 Trusts (out of 357) in all responded. The breakdown of which is:
Response rate from NHS Foundation Trusts:             49.6%;  47.7% of these withheld some or all information
Response rate from Acute Hospital Trusts:            87%;     52.2% of these withheld some or all information
Response rate from Primary Care Trusts:              78.5%;  47.9% of these withheld some or all information 

2020health
is an independent, grass-roots, think tank for health and technology interested in realistic solutions. 

Julia Manning authored Health, Humanity and Justice: Emerging technologies and health policy in the 21st century Published by 2020health, October 2010 Available here.

2020health Report Stealing the NHS?

Stealing the NHS?

A new 2020health reports that seeks to answer whether the NHS is being careless with Taxpayer's money. At least £3.3 billion of taxpayer’s money is not being spent on genuine healthcare needs and many NHS hospitals are refusing to publish what they are doing to combat fraud. read on Stealing the NHS?