Who we are

The NHSCFA is a health authority charged with identifying, investigating and preventing fraud and other economic crime within the NHS and the wider health group

The NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) is a health authority charged with identifying, investigating and preventing fraud and other economic crime within the NHS and the wider health group.

As a health authority focused entirely on counter fraud work, the NHSCFA is independent from other NHS bodies and directly accountable to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Our vision

Our vision is to work together to understand, find and prevent fraud, bribery and corruption in the NHS.

Our purpose

Our purpose is to “protect the NHS from fraud, bribery and corruption”.

We will achieve this by:

  • being experts and leaders in our field
  • leading the NHS response
  • empowering others
  • putting the interests of the NHS and its patients first

The NHSCFA's departmental sponsor is the Department of Health and Social Care Anti-Fraud Unit (DHSC AFU), which holds the NHSCFA board to account for the delivery of its strategy. Statutory Instrument 2017 No 958 sets out the establishment and constitution of the organisation. Schedule 2, parts 1 and 2, details the requirements for specific roles which make up our board. To find out more about the role of the NHSCFA board and its members please see the NHSCFA Board of Directors Section.

Our remit covers the NHS and the wider health group in England. In Wales we provide specialist counter fraud support functions to the Welsh Government under section 83 of the Government of Wales Act 2006. Please see the NHS Counter Fraud Service Wales page for more details.

The Evolution of the NHSCFA

We're all emerging from an incredibly testing time for the NHS. A global pandemic is, for the healthcare sector, at least the equivalent of a world war and the consequences will be felt by all NHS colleagues for some time as economies, worldwide, now pivot to cope with the economic and wellbeing toll.

Our CEO, Alex Rothwell, is currently embarking on a testing programme of stakeholder relationship-building sessions. This journey slide is one he’ll be sharing widely. At times like this, it’s worth taking a look back on the roots of the community in which we operate, for what is any organisation but a collection of people gathered together to serve a common purpose, in our case a community dedicated to protecting the NHS from the fraudulent abuse of public funds that should be directed to front line care?

Infographic showing a time line of events for the NHSCFA.  Information contained in this image is listed in the section below.


NHS logo

Directorate of Counter Fraud Services (DCFS) created and assigned with overall responsibility for all the work to counter fraud and corruption undertaken in the NHS


Office workers talking

Inclusion of the Counter Fraud Operational Service (CFOS) providing a regional investigative capacity


NHS doctor and nurse reviewing a patient record

NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (NHS CFSMS), set up as a special health authority an arm’s length body of the Department of Health, to protect the staff, assets and resources of the NHS in England and Wales


NHS CFSMS was amalgamated into the NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) to be part of a single special health authority


Cirlcle of stretched out arms all meeting at the center

The CFSMS division of the NHSBSA is renamed NHS Protect with its counter fraud function aligned to the development and delivery of the DHSC anti-fraud strategy


Two hands shaking each other

NHS Protect achieves its first million pound recovery with Dentist Joyce Trail required to pay back £1.4million she had defrauded from the NHS


Potrait of Barry Cosson

NHS Finance Manager Barry Cosson ordered to pay back £2.1 million defrauded from his NHS employer


Man in suit with his sat forward with his head in his hands

Four NHS Clinical specialists ordered to pay back £520,000 they had conspired to defraud from the NHS


NHSCFA brochure front cover

The NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) is created as a new special health authority charged with identifying, investigating and preventing fraud and other economic crime within the NHS and the wider health group (removing responsibility for the protection of staff in the NHS)


Two people review documents at a desk

First NHSCFA strategy. Organisation establishes itself as a leader in counter fraud

£126m financial benefit achieved (2019-20)


BBC Logo

The NHSCFA increased their profile with 'Fraud Squad NHS' BBC One TV documentary series


NHS nurse in a mask

Covid-19 starts

NHSCFA remit renewed by parliament for another three years


Current strategy target of £400m overall financial benefit

£54m achieved in 2020-21 (against target of £50m)


Evolution Programme starts

Stakeholder Engagement programme launched

Clue implemented across NHS


Side profile of Alex Rothwell, CEO NHSCFA

Appointment of new Chief Executive, Alex Rothwell


Stack of NHSCFA pulications

Ongoing evolution development of new NHSCFA strategy

Our timeline, albeit relatively brief, shows how we have evolved to face past challenges like recessions, austerity and hardship. It also reminds us that we need to keep looking forward, to keep adapting to remain future fit and it’s here where our strategy comes in.

The organisation is continuously evolving to keep fraud in check. Our current organisation structure is available to view in PDF format.

At no stage in this timeline were we ever alone. The NHSCFA is an enabling function, a facilitator and orchestrator of the local counter-fraud effort within the NHS Trusts. Our timeline is a reminder of the links in that chain and how important that golden thread of dedication and collaboration will be moving forward.

Hopefully, publishing this now will prompt those who explore our journey to consider the part they played in the past, play now and will play in the future as there will be rewarding and testing times ahead for us all.

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