Protecting the NHS from theft and fraud

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2012 Health Care Service Group Conference
16 December 2011

This Conference believes that the Health and Social Care Bill as drafted will make the National Health Service a soft target for thieves and fraudsters. Conference notes with concern that the Bill does not make statutory provision for the prevention, detection or investigation of fraud and theft from the National Health Service and has left the issue in the hands of those who seek to profit commercially from the anticipated changes in the NHS.

Conference notes that NHS Protect, the organisation responsible for the prevention, detection and investigation of fraud and theft in the NHS, has to date returned over £65 million to delivering patient care and front line services.

Conference further notes that NHS Protect carries out its function on a statutory basis under secondary legislation which directs health bodies to make provision for countering fraud and theft in their own organisations. This legislation also gives NHS Protect powers to direct health bodies to ensure that their policies and procedures are designed or redesigned so as to be as fraud proof as possible.

Conference believes that without a statutory basis, organisations commissioning and providing services within the NHS will be prone to fraud and theft as they cut corners in pursuit of profit over patients. These financial losses will have the ultimate effect of depriving patients of the care they need and frontline staff of the tools they need to do their job.

Conference instructs the Service Group Executive to pursue the issue of maintaining a statutory basis for the valuable work undertaken by NHS Protect as part of its campaign to protect the future of the NHS as a public service.