Hundreds of jobs are set to be established in counter-fraud work within the National Health Service following the creation of a specialist fraud-busting operation.
NHS FD Colin Reeves has already added his weight to the arguments for tackling fraud within the health service. One immediate result is the Counter Fraud Operational Service which will require accountants and auditors at local, regional and national levels.
Under the auspices of the NHS Executive’s counter-fraud directorate, the £3m network of fraud-busting teams is intended to reduce abuse in areas such as prescriptions, where more than £150m is lost to fraudsters every year.
A dedicated counter-fraud specialist will be posted at each health authority and NHS trust in the country to investigate local instances of fraud.
Nominated from existing staff, the employees will be specially trained in counter-fraud work.
Each NHS Executive region will see a counter-fraud team of five full-timers, and a national team of 16 will be established, all of whom will be appointed specifically for that role.
Announcing the measures, health minister John Denham said the ultimate aim of the network was to reduce losses to an absolute minimum. Despite the assurances, the Healthcare Financial Management Association warned such a large initiative was likely to mean unnecessary duplication at trust and health authority level.
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