The loss to the NHS from fraud, bribery and corruption is
estimated to be £1.27 billion each year – enough money to pay for
over 40,000 staff nurses. Fraud takes vital taxpayer funds from
frontline NHS services and diverts it to the pockets of
annual report offers a detailed look at the full range of our
work by describing what we achieved and how we used our resources
from our launch on 1 November 2017 to 31 March this year.
One example of how the NHSCFA leads the fight against fraud,
bribery and corruption in the NHS and wider health group is
through the guidance we produce. We have recently identified
through our intelligence work that the risks to the NHS from
mandate fraud have increased. We are aware that organised crime
groups are actively targeting the NHS. The methods they use are
constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated. Mandate fraud
happens when a fraudster tricks an organisation into making a
payment to them by pretending to be one of the organisation’s
regular suppliers (e.g. they may ask the organisation to change a
standing order so payments go to the fraudster’s bank account).
Losses from this type of fraud can run into hundreds of thousands
of pounds for organisations affected – the NHSCFA provides
preventative advice and a case study in chapter 4 of our updated
invoice fraud guidance, and we regularly share information and
intelligence with the NHS on this and other fraud threats. Even
the most sophisticated attack can usually be negated by some
fairly simple precautions.
There is a renewed drive to tackle fraud in the NHS, and you may
be aware of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s
announcement on this issue earlier this month. In partnership with
the DHSC, we are working on a number of initiatives to underpin
the delivery of the DHSC Counter
Fraud Strategic Plan. This includes:
- Increasing NHSCFA influence and counter fraud compliance
across the NHS with closer working and engagement with bodies
such as NHS Improvement,
including the appointment of counter fraud ‘champions’ across the
NHS at a local level to drive up performance.
- Greater and more effective engagement of NHS audit and
risk committees to hold health bodies to account and to provide
more effective support from the NHSCFA at the centre.
- Greater exchange of data and information to counter fraud
across the NHS, increasing our use of new technologies and
innovations where possible.
- Exploring the development of a framework contract for
counter fraud services that ensures that all counter fraud work
is conducted consistently and to the highest possible standards.
These initiatives can help make the NHS better equipped to
deal with the threat from fraud, by bringing a stronger focus on
counter fraud work at both a national and a local level: to make
the most of this opportunity it’s important that all risk owners
in the NHS contribute to developing the initiatives that affect
them. We have written to key stakeholders, including Directors of
Finance/Chief Finance Officers, Local Counter Fraud Specialists
and Audit Committee Chairs, to seek their input and support for
Partnership work is vital to tackling fraud, and this is not
limited to the NHS and wider health group. This month saw the
launch of the Government
Counter Fraud Profession (GCFP), which is designed to create a
new community of counter fraud professionals across central
government and arm’s-length bodies, enhance counter fraud
capability and put the UK in a better position to find and fight
fraud and economic crime. The NHSCFA has played an important role
among a number of organisations involved in the development of the
GCFP, and our fraud investigators are among the first members of
the new profession.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more about our
work, and subscribe to our e-newsletter for the latest updates
about the NHSCFA and counter fraud work in the NHS.