Financial practices at NHS ‘patchy’


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Speaking exclusively to Accountancy Age, Jim Gee, chief executive of the NHS counter fraud and security management service, said he believed a national audit body similar to his own should be set up to oversee the quality of NHS internal audit.

‘We have certainly come across some accounting weaknesses,’ he said, before describing a case where hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money went astray and ended up in someone’s bank account. ‘There had been four successive (internal) audits that had signed off the system as absolutely no problem,’ Gee said.

He said that the NHS had certainly come across issues ‘relating to the weaknesses of audit in the NHS’ and that it is something currently being looked into by NHS fraud experts.

FD warns of NHS rationing

Yesterday, the Liberal Democrats, led by Charles Kennedy, delivered a motion at its party conference that called for ‘NHS resources to be spent more wisely’ by subjecting all administrative and bureaucratic programmes to an ‘independent test’.

Gee’s view is an opinion shared by the Department of Health. A spokesman said that weaknesses in the internal audit function of the NHS is ‘something that we’re aware of’, but he rejected Gee’s proposal for another national audit body.

Gee described NHS internal audit as ‘patchy’ because there are so many local NHS trusts. The fraudbuster said that internal and external audit had to be as strong as possible.

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