Together, we can fight NHS fraud and return vital funds to our health services | Susan Frith

Susan Frith

Fraud affecting the NHS is a £1.29 billion-a-year problem that takes money away from frontline patient care. If we are to preserve the NHS for another 70 years, we need to work together to stop public money lining the pockets of criminals. Susan Frith, the interim chief executive of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority discusses how the organisation can support you.

The NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) is a special health authority, an intelligence-led body that wants to work collaboratively with all parts of the NHS workforce, and with the public, to raise awareness of NHS fraud, bribery and corruption.

Our mission is to lead the fight against fraud affecting the NHS and wider health service, and protect vital resources intended for patient care. The NHSCFA investigates complex and serious cases with a view to recovering any money defrauded where possible.

Our organisation approaches the challenge from many directions, with different services including intelligence, investigations, fraud prevention, standards, staff and organisational development, communications, and digitalisation and technology.

We have a forensic computing unit that can provide a comprehensive and professional forensic computing service to recover digital evidence for use in criminal proceedings – these services can be accessed by local counter fraud specialists (LCFSs). Our financial investigators can also assist with the recovery of defrauded funds, where an LCFS investigation is suitable – this is a service we deliver at no additional cost to health bodies. An example of this is a case where money was recovered by the NHSCFA on behalf of an NHS trust.

We are continuously striving to develop new and exciting ways to engage with our audiences, producing campaigns and communications strategies to both inform and interest. So far, we have created campaigns such as our interactive #Trackthetruck campaign, in collaboration with NHS Supply Chain, as well as having developed videos and physical campaign materials that are available online.

Campaigns are a good way of acting as a deterrent to those who are planning to take advantage of the NHS. These counter-fraud messages are vital in the overall campaign to fight NHS fraud and to keep public money where it belongs.

Our guidance aims to inform organisations firstly of the very real fraud risks that exist, and secondly, to provide solutions to mitigate those identified fraud risks. Every health organisation should adopt counter-fraud measures to ensure they are safeguarding not only their organisation, but also the NHS and wider health service as a whole.

Another aspect of our work is the important intelligence and data analytics work we carry out. As an intelligence-led organisation, we use information from a wide range of sources to help build a more complete fraud intelligence picture, which then allows us to better understand the risks.

So, what do we want from you?

First and foremost, we want to engage with the NHS workforce at all levels, but senior managers have a particular responsibility to promote these important counter-fraud messages and practices. We want to work with you and your organisations to raise awareness of fraud, bribery and corruption in the NHS. Through successful awareness, people will know what procedures to follow if they ever need to make a referral. They would know that they can contact their LCFS, or contact us by calling our fraud and corruption reporting line on 0800 028 4060, or by completing an online report.

Please let us know what we can do to help you and your organisations make the most out of your counter-fraud resources and help us fight NHS fraud. Please get in touch by emailing us at generalenquiries@nhscfa.gsi.gov.uk

Susan Frith is interim chief executive of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority. Follow the organisation on Twitter @NHSCFA.

The NHSCFA is an NHS Confederation associate. Find out more about our associates scheme, a dedicated programme for organisations that work with and supply services to the NHS.

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