Are you concerned about NHS fraud?
If you are thinking of becoming a whistleblower about NHS fraud then you are not alone. According to a recent article in The Telegraph newspaper, almost £1.3 billion is defrauded from the NHS every year. What’s more, it’s often done by those one would least expect.
Yes, there are always those hard-up, hard-luck stories about low-paid staff spotting the opportunity to nick a few quid here and there. But there are also incidents of high level staff risking six figure jobs and entire careers to fiddle the system.
This is a shocking betrayal of trust by the very people responsible for helping ensure our national health system helps as many people as possible and in the most efficient of ways.
By committing NHS fraud, they are literally taking money that could have been used to fund extra staff, invest in vital equipment and carry out more procedures.
For example, £1.3 billion would cover the cost of the NHS doing over 43,000 complex heart operations per year or around 25,000 complex brain surgery procedures on children.
To understand that is to understand that these fraudsters are not only stealing money, they are also risking patient wellbeing and even their life expectancy.
Examples of people defrauding the NHS
In one instance, a group of specialists who operated heart-lung machines during surgery billed the NHS for 14,000 hours of work that they did not carry out, cheating it out of more than £1 million pounds.
In another instance, three managers of an NHS health board’s estates department defrauded the NHS out of over £700,000. One of the managers had set up a company to which he awarded contracts, rather than putting them out to tender. The CPS said that he had used the money he made to buy land, properties, luxury holidays, watches and cars.
The sad thing is that these fraudulent cases are far from rare. In fact, do a Google search for NHS fraud and the incidents seem endless, from a security guard stealing £200,000 from NHS car park pay machines to an NHS locksmith who defrauded the NHS of almost £600,000 when he sourced products at extortionate mark-ups of up to 1,200%.
Of course, whilst some instances of NHS fraud come to light through investigations, many of those investigations are only set in motion because of somebody highlighting a concern.
So how can you report NHS fraud?
If you want to report an issue, even if you are not 100% sure of all of the facts, you can do this by contacting the NHS Counter Fraud Authority. Just visit this link to give them any details you have: https://cfa.nhs.uk/reportfraud
Of course, if you also feel confident that your concerns will be taken seriously by your employer, then speaking to them first may also be a good idea.
Either way, at a time when so many NHS employees are working honestly and tirelessly to deliver an excellent service despite budgetary cuts and demands, the importance of stopping every fraudster we can should never be underestimated.