A year on: NHSCFA continues the conversation with procurement experts

On 27-28 November we returned to the Healthcare Supply Association (HCSA) annual conference - Rianne Endeley-Brown has the details.

Published: 4 December 2018

Oliver Stropnitzky delivers NHSCFA counter fraud message at HSCA conference

We've come full circle here at the NHSCFA as we attended The Healthcare Supply Association (HCSA) 2018 conference. The conference was the first one we attended last year after launching. Whereas last year's event was in Harrogate, this year we were in Cardiff City Hall on 27-28 November. The conference saw the likes of NHS trust procurement heads, healthcare procurement teams, and other procurement experts engaging with us and our fellow exhibitors.

This year we strengthened our relationship with those procurement professionals, and wanted to find out more about their existing knowledge of procurement fraud. This is particularly important for us as procurement fraud (specifically post-contract invoice manipulation) is one of our organisational priorities for this financial year.

HSCA conference delegates visiting the NHSCFA stand

Representatives from the NHSCFA and the NHS Counter Fraud Service Wales (CFS Wales) manned the stand over the two days.

We received a lot of engagement from the delegates - most of them had heard of us and were aware of the scale of fraud, bribery and corruption affecting the NHS. This means our conversations with delegates were focused on the guidance we recently produced (on pre-contract and invoice fraud) and wanting to work with procurement professionals to help tackle fraud.

On the first day, we were also encouraging delegates to go along to the session held by Ollie Stopnitzky, Senior Fraud Prevention Officer, the next morning. In his presentation Ollie explained the ways in which procurement fraud affects the NHS, and the work that the NHSCFA (and the Fraud Prevention team more specifically) are doing around helping to mitigate the associated risks.

Ollie had this to say about the event: "The conference was an excellent place to showcase the work of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority and to talk about the work we are doing to prevent procurement fraud. It was well-attended by procurement professionals of all levels and provided us with the platform to build positive and lasting relations with the sector.

"Across the two days at the conference, we asked delegates to complete a survey to enhance our understanding of the level of knowledge and awareness amongst delegates with regard to the procurement fraud risks and controls. This will assist NHSCFA with an ongoing research project into preventing procurement fraud loss."

Having our Welsh counterparts present at the conference was great as it gave us a chance to present a united front in terms of our counter fraud services. The NHSCFA provides specialist counter fraud support services to NHS Wales and we work closely with the CFS Wales team. They recently secured convictions in a £822,000 case of procurement fraud which we helped publicise through a press release. Most of the delegates knew about the case, and brought it up as an example of procurement fraud.

Overall, the conference was a success, enabling us to speak to procurement experts and professionals on the ground. It really is invaluable to have the opportunity to hear from those that have such knowledge of the field. Thank you to those of you, who attended the conference, engaged with us and who were kind enough to fill out our survey!

Please look out for details of conferences we will be attending in the future - we will post details on social media.

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