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Report Reveals Fraud is Crippling the NHS

A report has recently been commissioned which suggests that one of the biggest costs the NHS faces at present is that of fraud within its own organisations.

The ‘Financial Cost of Healthcare Fraud 2015’ report published by PKF Littlejohn LLP, has revealed a catalogue of shocking practices within NHS departments that is compromising the safety of the public and costing the health service £5.7 billion every year.

Jim Gee, Director of Counter Fraud Services at PKF Littlejohn and former director of NHS Counter Fraud Services, has undertaken years of research to reveal corruption amongst individuals responsible for providing patient care in the NHS.

His investigations have shown for example, that common practices across the NHS include the creation of ghost patients, claiming for the costs of treatment that a patient has never had, the failure to declare prescription charges, and claiming to have dispensed a higher volume of drugs than is actually the case.

In terms of prescription charge fraud itself, the Department of Health has estimated that 29.4 million prescriptions were wrongly handed out for free last year at a cost of £237 million.

Although these revelations are shocking, these figures only rely on the fraud that has actually been detected, and it is unknown how much more money is being lost due to fraudulent practices that are yet to be uncovered.

This significant financial loss begs the question as to what kind of improvements could have been made to patient care and treatment, had these funds been used more appropriately. It has been calculated that if healthcare organisations around the world were able to reduce their losses as a result of fraudulent activity by at least 40%, it would free up more than £120 billion to spend elsewhere.

The report has concluded that the only way to tackle these corrupt practices would be for the organisations as a whole to admit that fraud is taking place and to take the relevant steps to pre-empt its commission, rather than merely waiting for its detection.

Gill Edwards is a Senior Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.

If you or a member of your family has suffered as a result of poor NHS treatment, Slater and Gordon Lawyers can help. Call our Clinical Negligence Solicitors 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online.

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