NHS’s anti-fraud squad saves £43m

The NHS counter fraud team has saved the health service £43 million since it was formed in 2000, it has been revealed.

Its successes have included the conviction of an anaesthetic assistant, who was jailed for stealing £23,000 worth of medical equipment to sell on eBay, and a nursing assistant who claimed for shifts not worked, by forging the signatures of colleagues to validate false claims.

A GP who was using false names to obtain prescriptions for opiate drugs for personal use was also caught, as was a part-time administrative worker who claimed almost £40,000 in fraudulent overtime.

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Public health minister Michael Matheson, who will meet members of the team today, said: “We will not tolerate fraudulent behaviour in our NHS and the Counter Fraud Services team have strict measures in place to make sure that criminals are caught and brought to justice.

“Although many of the cases may seem minor, the cost of fraud to our NHS really adds up. Already £43m gross has been saved which has been used to provide patient care and not line the pocket of fraudsters.”

Counter Fraud Services was established in 2000, concentrating initially on investigating fraud within primary care services. Its remit was expanded in 2004 to encompass all areas of fraud throughout the NHS in Scotland.

Its approach was also transformed from responsive investigations, to the launch of pro-active work.