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'Despicable' fraud costs NHS in England £1bn a year

From BBC - October 31, 2017

More will be done to protect the NHS in England from "despicable" acts of fraud, the head of the health service's new anti-fraud body has said.

Sue Frith promised a crackdown as she released figures suggesting the yearly bill for fraud in the NHS topped 1bn.

Cases include patients falsely claiming for exemptions on dental and prescription fees, and dentists charging for work they had not done.

Ms Frith said the fraud takes vital funds from front line care.

Ms Frith, the chief executive of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, said it would be looking at new ways to fight the crime.

The analysis by her team estimated that 1.25bn of fraud is being committed each year by patients, staff and contractors - the first time the health service has put a figure on total fraud committed itself.

The sum represents about 1% of the NHS budget.

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The most common frauds

The two biggest single areas of fraud were related to patients and procurement of good and services, both of which was likely to cost the NHS in excess of 200m a year each, according to Ms Frith.

She said patient fraud included cases where people wrongly claimed for exemptions for the cost of things like prescriptions and dental fees.

Meanwhile, payroll fraud was thought to be costing 90m a year, while dentists were said to be claiming around 70m in work on NHS patients that has not been done.

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