Sue Frith, interim Chief Executive Officer

Today the NHS turns 70. People all over the UK will take some time to mark the occasion and celebrate the NHS’s achievements. The NHS itself won't take a day off – its dedicated staff will continue to provide care to millions of people, just as they have done every day since 5 July 1948.

Today is about celebrating the NHS and recognising the vital role it plays in everyone's lives. It is also about supporting the NHS, so we can preserve it for the next 70 years.

This is at the centre of what we at the NHS Counter Fraud Authority do every day. By fighting fraud and other economic crime affecting the NHS, we help to preserve the resources it relies on to do its work. We do not do this alone – hundreds of Local Counter Fraud Specialists and Directors of Finance in health bodies in England are also engaged in the fight against NHS fraud, and separate counter fraud arrangements are in place in each of the devolved administrations. We also work closely with many stakeholders outside the NHS, including the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Everyone has a part to play in the fight against NHS fraud, just like everyone is a victim when the NHS is targeted for fraud. We estimate that fraud and other economic crime costs the NHS over £1.25 billion ‎every year. This is taxpayers' money – our money – which is diverted from patient care and falls into the hands of criminals.

As we share tea and cake at NHS Big 7Tea events in the NHSCFA’s offices today, we will join millions of people celebrating the NHS and the achievements of its 70-year history. And as we continue our work to preserve NHS resources from fraud, we feel strengthened in our commitment to work with everyone in the NHS, and everyone who uses the NHS, to help ensure that history continues long into the future.

Happy birthday, NHS!