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Counter-fraud: Fighting fraud, bribery and corruption

How does the ICB fight fraud

The NHS loses around £1.21 billion per year, or roughly £3.3 million per day, to fraud.

This is taxpayers’ money that is taken away from patient care and falls into the hands of criminals. Enough to pay for 40,000 staff nurses, or purchase 5,000 emergency ambulances.

When we say ‘fraud’, that can mean a range of economic crimes, such as fraud, bribery and corruption or any other illegal acts by an individual or group to obtain a financial or professional gain.

AuditOne, the ICB’s counter fraud provider, works closely with us to combat fraud. It has a team of experienced specialists delivering a full range of counter fraud, bribery and corruption services including prevention, detection and investigation.

AuditOne's qualified counter fraud specialists work to identify potential fraud, bribery and corruption risks through policy and system reviews, and suggest action to reduce and mitigate those risks. The team are experienced in carrying out timely criminal investigations, from referral to prosecution.

AuditOne is an NHS consortium providing counter fraud services to 23 NHS and independent health care provider organisations across the north of England. It is hosted by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and is a not-for-profit organisation. You can find out more on AuditOne's website.

The ICB’s counter fraud specialists, Martyn Tait and Simon Clarkson, can be contacted on 0191 441 5936, or at counterfraud@audit-one.co.uk.

How to prevent fraud

The NHS Counter Fraud Authority has useful reference and prevention guidance documents for NHS organisations and quick guides to help with preventing different types of procurement fraud:

NHS staff: This relates to people working in, or for, the NHS in any capacity. It includes salaried employees, retired employees receiving an NHS pension, agency staff, trainees, contractors such as GPs, dentists, pharmacists, opticians and their organisations and any other contractors who work for the NHS in the same manner as an employee.

NHS patients: This relates to patients – people receiving treatment, services or medication from the NHS. It may relate to someone using the NHS (either in the UK or abroad) to obtain medical, dental, optical or pharmacy services.

NHS suppliers: This relates to people or organisations providing goods and/or services to the NHS. It can include contractors (individuals or companies), suppliers, or other organisations.

NHS systems: This relates to fraud in relation to financial accounting, performance, incentives or penalties or any other financial issue.

Third parties: This relates to a people or organisations not linked to the NHS but trying to gain financially from it. It would include a third party making unsolicited requests for payment from the NHS or someone using an NHS facility to which they are not entitled.

How to report fraud

If you suspect fraud is taking place, you can help by reporting your suspicions confidentially to the counter fraud specialist. Follow these simple guidelines when reporting your suspicions:

  • Make an immediate note of your concerns
  • Deal with the matter promptly if you feel your concerns are warranted
  • Raise your concerns to the relevant person
  • Don’t just do nothing
  • Don’t approach or accuse individuals yourself
  • Don’t try to investigate the matter yourself

How to contact a fraud specialist

Counter-fraud champion

Each NHS organisation has a counter fraud champion who supports the counter fraud specialist in promoting awareness of fraud across the ICB.

Please be aware that counter fraud champions are not authorised to investigate allegations of fraud. Therefore, staff should not report suspicions to fraud champions. The ICB’s counter fraud champion is Richard Henderson, director of finance (corporate).

Contact information

The ICB’s counter fraud specialists can be contacted on 0191 441 5936 or at counterfraud@audit-one.co.uk.

You can report suspicions of fraud to the ICB’s chief finance officer.

Or you can call the national fraud and corruption reporting line: 0800 028 40 60. All calls are made in strictest confidence and no attempt will be made to persuade you to provide your personal details if you want to remain anonymous. You will be given a call reference number which you can quote if you phone again with additional information.

Finally, you can report allegations of fraud online directly to the NHS Counter Fraud Authority website.

Useful links

Fraud insight newsletters and the counter fraud, bribery and corruption policy and strategy are available on the intranet for staff.

AuditOne fraud awareness videos:

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