Fraud-busters at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLaG) are warning that fraud against the NHS will not be tolerated.
The Trust has issued the message as part of November’s Fraud Awareness Month (FAM) which coincides with International Fraud Awareness Week, which runs from November 17 to 23.
The Trust is committed to making sure that vital NHS funds are not lost to fraud. The organisation will be reinforcing this message throughout November through a range of activities.
NLaG local counter fraud specialist (LCFS) Nicki Foley will be hosting a joint stand with the Humberside Police Economic Crime Unit on the following dates:
• Monday November 11 from 12pm at the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital restaurant
• Tuesday November 12 from 12pm at the Scunthorpe General Hospital restaurant
Nicki will also be at the following locations:
• Friday November 15 between 8.15am to 9am and 12pm to 1pm at Global House in Scunthorpe
• Tuesday November 19 from 12pm at Goole and District Hospital restaurant
Fraud against the NHS takes many guises including patients attempting to avoid paying prescription charges by falsely claiming exemptions or claiming for travelling expenses that they are either not entitled to or have not incurred; staff may attempt to gain employment with false documentation, or claim pay for shifts they did not work or work elsewhere while off sick from the Trust; and contractors may exaggerate or falsify records of NHS work or goods provided.
Nicki said: “The Trust is absolutely committed to ensuring that the public funds of the NHS are spent on caring for patients and not diverted into fraudsters’ pockets.
“All referrals made to us about suspicions of fraud are vigorously investigated and we will take appropriate action against people, which can involve criminal prosecution, disciplinary sanctions, referral to a professional body and recovery of the defrauded monies.
“Most people who work in and use the NHS are honest, but unfortunately there is a minority that tries to defraud it of its valuable resources. Fraud is not just committed by staff but also patients and those who provide goods and services to the NHS.
“Fraudsters are dealt with in the most appropriate manner and this could include prosecution through the criminal courts. We also seek to recover monies that have been defrauded and where NHS staff are involved, the Trust will also take appropriate disciplinary action and refer them to their professional body for further possible sanctions.”
James Hayburn, the Trust’s interim director of finance, said: “Fraud against the NHS is not a victimless crime because these valuable funds are meant for patient care. We want to send a clear message that fraud will not be tolerated in our Trust and we will support the prosecution of offenders. It is vital that our precious NHS funds are used to deliver quality patient care within our organisation, and not directed into the pockets of fraudsters.”
Staff and members of the public are encouraged to play their part in protecting NHS resources and report any suspicions of fraud. To report suspected fraud or corruption at the Trust you can call the Trust’s LCFS on 03033 302994 or call the NHS fraud and corruption reporting line on 0800 028 40 60 or visit www.cfa.nhs.uk/reportfraud.