A recent report led by the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) on local NHS
healthcare spend during the COVID-19 pandemic has identified that good practice across
NHS procurement saved millions of pounds during this unprecedented and challenging
The PEA (Post Event Assurance) exercise found that despite the mounting, varied and
complex operational pressures, most NHS organisations maintained good levels of
financial governance, assurance, transparency, and fraud risk management.
The unique nature of the pandemic and the subsequent need for an immediate response
put pressure on procurement practices and it was therefore important to capture
The project also looked for instances of fraud and assessed fraud risk management
practices during the emergency management response. The NHSCFA is aware that during
extreme times fraudsters see these as opportunities and therefore the exercise focused on
contracts awarded under extreme urgency, supplier relief payments and high-risk
An impressive 91 per cent response rate was achieved comprising 210 NHS provider
organisation from England and Wales.
The NHSCFA collaborated closely with colleagues from the Cabinet Office, NHS England
and its Welsh counterparts on the exercise.
Richard Hampton, Head of Intelligence and Fraud Prevention said:
“We also identified proactive action, taken locally by NHS organisations, that avoided
known fraud risks when they urgently needed to take on new suppliers. The impact was
evaluated where supplier contracts, either in the process of being adopted, or
under active consideration, were cancelled and/or payments clawed back due to an
identified risk, following information/intelligence received, or due diligence
undertaken against the supplier. In this respect, NHSCFA identified £10m of savings that
otherwise would have been lost to the NHS”.
The NHSCFA will continue to lead the fight against fraud and will work collaboratively in
providing organisation-specific feedback to NHS provider organisations to inspire
continuous improvement across the NHS procurement sector. NHS organisations should
continue to implement, enforce, and review the appropriateness of their fraud risk
management regime under both business-as-usual and emergency management scenario
circumstances to future-proof their strategies.
The NHS has endured a challenging time in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is
a time for the sector to reflect on the effectiveness of their fraud risk management regime
and to look at how these can be continually developed and improved across the sector.
For further information please visit - An evaluation of NHS procurement spending during
the COVID-19 pandemic (cfa.nhs.uk)
If you suspect that anyone is committing fraud or another economic crime against the NHS, tell NHSCFA about it – you can visit our main website to report online: www.cfa.nhs.uk or telephone our 24-hour reporting line 0800 028 40 60.
“NHS fraud. Spot it, report it, together we stop it”
For more information contact the NHSCFA press office on 07747 461860 / email@example.com.
Notes to Editors
- The NHS Counter Fraud Authority is a Special Health Authority established under the NHS Act 2006 as amended. It is sponsored by the Department for Health and Social Care, accountable to the department’s Anti-Fraud Unit (AFU).
- The NHSCFA assess that the NHS vulnerability to fraud, bribery and corruption leads to an estimated loss of £1.198 billion (2020-21).
- When NHSCFA uses the term ‘fraud’, we refer to a range of economic crimes, such as fraud, bribery, corruption or any other illegal acts committed by an individual or group of individuals to obtain a financial or professional gain.
- NHSCFA also supports the work of the NHS Counter Fraud Service (Wales).
- NHSCFA works closely with NHS Local Counter Fraud Specialists across the NHS in England to ensure that healthcare crime is tackled, and a culture of fraud prevention and deterrence is in place.
- NHSCFA works collaboratively with NHS Scotland Counter Fraud Services on fraud issues.
- There are some 300 professionally trained and accredited Local Counter Fraud Specialists in place within health bodies across England and Wales.