The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 gives legal protection to employees against being dismissed or penalised by their employers as a result of disclosing information which is considered to be in the public interest. NHSCFA is a ‘prescribed person’ as defined under the Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014.
As such, individuals working outside the NHSCFA, but in the healthcare sector, may contact the NHSCFA if they have any concerns in relation to fraud, corruption or other unlawful activity in relation to the health service in England. Individuals can report to the NHSCFA in a variety of ways including using our online fraud and corruption reporting form and calling our Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line powered by Crimestoppers.
Since April 2017, all ‘Prescribed Persons’ are required to report in writing annually on workers (whistleblowing) disclosures they have received. The report must be published within six months of the end of the reporting period.
The report must contain, without including any information in the report that would identify a worker who has made a disclosure of information, or an employer or other person in respect of whom a disclosure of information has been made -
- The number of workers’ disclosures received during the reporting period that the relevant prescribed person reasonably believes are –
- Qualifying disclosures within the meaning of section 43B of the Employment Rights Act 1996
- Which fall within the matters in respect of which that person is so prescribed
- The action that the relevant prescribed person has taken during the reporting period in respect of the workers’ disclosures
- How workers’ disclosures have impacted on the relevant prescribed person’s ability to perform its functions and meet its objectives during the reporting period
From 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, the NHSCFA received 334 reports where the source had stated they were making a disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.
- 130 of these reports are open and so have not been actioned yet.
- 151 reports were closed with No Further Action and progressed no further.
Of the remaining 53 reports, 20 were tasked to Local Counter Fraud Specialists and 33 were disseminated to another body.
Of the 20 tasked to a Local Counter Fraud Specialist, nine have become cases. Eight of these cases are open and one has been closed with no offences identified. Of the remaining 11 tasked to the LCFS that have not become cases yet, six have been closed without becoming cases. One report has been closed as it is now subject to a police investigation, and the remaining four reports are still open.
Of the 130 reports that were open and waiting to be actioned as of 26 April 2022:
- 35 of these relate to patient frauds and as such are unlikely to have PIDA related issues.
- 32 of these reports were received within ten weeks of the end of the financial year and, therefore, are still going through processing within the Intelligence Unit.
Of the 151 reports that were closed with No Further Action and progressed no further:
- 82 of these relate to patient issues (such as prescription fraud including altered prescriptions), NHSCFA receives these in addition to the police and NHSE, therefore, they are not pursued by NHSCFA.
- 11 of these relate to a report which is being developed as part of an information report previously received by the NHSCFA. We can receive multiple reports about the same person/incident.
- 9 reports were not NHSCFA business and therefore could not be actioned any further.
- The remaining 49 relate to No Further Action categories of Intelligence Only, Information Inadequate, and No Fraud Established. Intelligence Only means that the report is kept on file but is unable to be progressed due to a lack of information available. Information inadequate means there is not enough information to establish what offense may have been committed, and it has not been possible to contact the source again. No Fraud Established is used when there is no fraud to investigate, usually due to a misunderstanding by NHS staff or the general public as to what constitutes a fraud or not.
The processing of such disclosures forms part of the NHSCFA’s “business as usual” activities, and consequently, the impact on the NHSCFA’s ability to perform its functions and meet its objectives during the reporting period was negligible.
Explanation of the Functions and Objectives
The NHSCFA is a Special Health Authority focused entirely on counter fraud work, independent from other NHS bodies and directly accountable to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). 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’s main objectives for 2020-2023 are to:
- Lead and influence the NHS to find, prevent, and reduce fraud, recovering losses and putting money back into patient care.
- Work with partners to reduce fraud loss in the NHS.
- Support and empower our people to be the best in their roles and feel valued.
- Effectively use our resources, identify and pursue opportunities for growth and innovation, and reduce our operating costs.