The NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) launches today, with a mission to lead the fight against fraud affecting the NHS and wider health service, and protect vital resources intended for patient care.
The new special health authority has been given the independence it needs to fight and deter the fraud, bribery and corruption attacking the NHS.
NHSCFA is a centre of excellence employing specialists in intelligence, fraud prevention, computer forensics, fraud investigation, financial investigation, data analysis and communications - all working together to detect, reduce and deter economic crime targeting the NHS.
NHSCFA's work starts with a focus on five areas:
- be the single expert, intelligence-led organisation providing a centralised investigation capacity for complex economic crime matters in the NHS
- support the Department of Health and Social Care's strategy for tackling fraudulent activity affecting the NHS
- be the body leading and influencing the improvement of standards in counter fraud work across the NHS
- take the lead in and encourage fraud reporting across the NHS and wider health group
- continue to develop the expertise of staff working for the NHSCFA
Interim CEO of NHSCFA, Sue Frith, said today:
"As a new, independent, intelligence-led special health authority, we are dedicated to tackling fraud against the health service in England. Our creation is good news for the taxpayer, for patients and for the honest majority working in and with the health service.
"I am proud to be leading the new NHS Counter Fraud Authority as we embark on this fight against the fraudsters who target the NHS. I am working alongside our Board and all of our dedicated staff. We are delighted to have full backing across the Government, the wider NHS and many other key stakeholders"
Simon Hughes, Interim Chair of NHSCFA said:
"Some of the challenges faced in this work include a limited awareness of fraud amongst NHS staff and significant under-reporting of fraud. Many people find it unthinkable that anyone would seek to defraud money meant for healthcare. Our ability to counter fraud has a direct impact on health care.
"Every fraud takes a service away from someone that needs it. This reality must be faced. We can all play our part in turning the tide, ensuring public money pays for services the public needs and doesn't line the pockets of criminals. We all use the NHS and will all benefit from securing its resources. Simply reporting your concerns is a powerful action to protect healthcare.
"Establishing the NHS Counter Fraud Authority strengthens our resolve in fighting fraud, bribery and corruption, protecting healthcare and supporting the many thousands of dedicated heath staff, suppliers and contractors."
Lord O'Shaughnessy, Health Minister, said:
"Fraud in the healthcare system not only undermines public confidence in the NHS but also diverts valuable resources away from caring for patients - it is estimated that prescription fraud alone costs the NHS £217 million each year.
"We created the NHS Counter Fraud Authority so that for the first time there is a dedicated NHS organisation to tackle health service fraud and corruption and bring fraudsters to justice."
Paul Baumann, Chief Financial Officer at NHS England, said:
"The NHS is committed to providing safe and high quality care to patients while securing the best possible value for taxpayers' money. It is essential that this ambition is not undermined by fraud. So we welcome the creation of the new NHS Counter Fraud Authority.
Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement, said:
"We will work hard to support the NHS Counter Fraud Authority. Our mission is to ensure the NHS gets the help it needs to continue to provide safe, high quality care while managing its finances effectively. Fraud in the NHS is unacceptable and is harmful to patients, staff and the NHS as a whole."
Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, said:
"Currently a significant amount of money is lost to the NHS each year through fraudulent behaviour so we welcome the launch of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority to tackle this very serious issue.
"It will support the NHS to develop the open culture where each and every member of staff feels confident to report any concerns. It is unacceptable that the money lost each year is depriving patients of investment in their services."
Mark Hallas, Chief Executive Officer, Crimestoppers, said:
"We look forward to working successfully with the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, as we have done with its predecessors. At Crimestoppers we have long provided phone lines for NHS staff to call with 100 per cent anonymity to report examples of fraud. If they encounter something suspicious it can be hard for NHS staff to take the next step to report it. With our anonymous reporting service, we can give staff the confidence to speak up."
If you suspect that anyone is committing fraud or another economic crime against the NHS, tell NHSCFA about it - you can call our 24-hour, confidential reporting line 0800 028 40 60 or use our online reporting tool
"NHS fraud. Spot it, report it, together we stop it"
For more information contact James Robertson or Rianne Endeley-Brown at the NHSCFA press office on 020 7895 4524/4523.
Notes to Editors
- For more details visit the website www.cfa.nhs.uk
- NHS Counter Fraud Authority is a Special Health Authority established under the NHS Act 2006 as amended.
- 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 will also support the work of the NHS Counter Fraud Service (Wales)
- NHSCFA will work 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.
- There are some 300 professionally trained and accredited Local Counter Fraud Specialists in place within health bodies across England and Wales.