To mark fraud awareness month (FAM), which runs throughout June, the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is reminding people who use their services, their carers, staff and local people to continue their vigilant approach towards fraud in the NHS.
The Trust provides mental health and learning disability services for nearly a million people in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.
This year’s FAM, which is run by the NHS Counter Fraud Service’s (NHS CFS), is aiming to answer two important questions ‘How do I report NHS fraud?’ and ‘What does NHS fraud look like?’
Types of NHS fraud and offenders vary. For example, patients may avoid paying prescription charges by falsely claiming exemptions; staff may gain employment with false documentation, or claim pay for shifts they did not work; and contractors may exaggerate or falsify records of NHS work.
A special video is available on YouTube where you can find out examples of fraud and what to look out for. Just search NHS fraud at www.youtube.com
Every health body in England and Wales has an accredited local counter fraud specialist (LCFS) who is responsible for overseeing fraud-proofing measures, reviewing financial transactions, looking for anything suspicious, raising awareness of the issues and investigating allegations of fraud. They are supported regionally and nationally by the NHS Counter Fraud Service, which deals with high-value or complex frauds.
The Trust’s local counter fraud specialist Chris Taylor said, "The work of LCFSs and the NHS Counter Fraud Service has already recovered tens of millions of pounds of NHS money and led to many fraudsters being prosecuted. However, we also need every honest person who works in and uses the NHS to help by recognising and reporting any fraud that does occur so we can ensure that the public funds of the NHS are spent on patient care.
"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."
By ensuring that all at the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust understand what healthcare fraud may look like, the Trust increases the chances of reducing the threat instead of feeling the effects. All Trust staff are taught how to report suspicions and to stay alert.
If you have a concern about NHS fraud, you can call the confidential NHS Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line on (freephone) 0800 028 40 60 or report it online at www.reportnhsfraud.nhs.uk