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 lead and proactively support the NHS to understand, find, prevent and respond to fraud

Our purpose

Our purpose is to:

  • Provide leadership and expertise in counter fraud as a valued NHS partner
  • Collaborate nationally and locally with the NHS to understand fraud threats, vulnerabilities and enablers
  • Deliver intelligence-led counter fraud services to find, respond to and prevent fraud
  • Reduce the impact of fraud on the NHS
  • Work with partners to deliver financial savings that can be reinvested in patient care

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.

1998

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

1999

Office workers talking

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

2003

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

2005

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

2011

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

2014

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

2015

Potrait of Barry Cosson

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

2016

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

2017

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)

2017-2020

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)

2019

BBC Logo

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

2020

NHS nurse in a mask

Covid-19 starts

NHSCFA remit renewed by parliament for another three years

2020-2023

Current strategy target of £400m overall financial benefit

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

2021-2022

Evolution Programme starts

Stakeholder Engagement programme launched

Clue implemented across NHS

2021

Side profile of Alex Rothwell, CEO NHSCFA

Appointment of new Chief Executive, Alex Rothwell

2022-2023

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.

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.