HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 cc1116-7W
Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures are in place to encourage members of the public and NHS staff to report suspected incidents of fraud in the NHS. [59554]

Ms Blears

[holding answer 24 May 2002]: Since the formation of the National Health Service Counter Fraud Service (NHS CFS) in 1998, every health body is required in Secretary of State Directions to have a dedicated and accredited local counter fraud specialist (LCFS) who can be contacted by NHS staff to report any suspicion of fraud in the NHS. One of the many functions of the LCFS is to contribute to a wider change in public and staff attitudes towards fraud in the national health service, using a variety of measures to develop an anti-fraud culture.

In addition, the NHS CFS has the Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line (FCRL), which is a secure channel for members of the public and NHS staff to report any suspicion of fraud in the NHS.

A series of fraud awareness presentations (FAPs) has also been given to every health authority, NHS trust, primary care trust and local professional committee, to not only provide details of the work of the NHS CFS but how to report a suspicion of fraud through their LCFS, regional NHS CFS office or the FCRL.

Over 600 of these presentations have been delivered to date and questionnaires completed by attendees reflect the development of an anti-fraud culture. The questionnaires have shown 99 per cent. of NHS staff are now clear about their role in countering fraud.

The NHS CFS also has a series of counter-fraud charters signed with all of the professional associations, 113 patient groups and the Royal College of Nursing. The number of NHS staff and contractors covered by counter-fraud charter agreements to work together to counter fraud is more than 400,000. Work continues to increase this number.

These charters demonstrate the development of a real anti-fraud culture among those working within the NHS.