NHS Counter Fraud Authority (CFA) leads on work to identify and tackle crime across the health service.

The aim is to protect NHS staff and resources from activities that would otherwise undermine their effectiveness and their ability to meet the needs of patients and professionals.

Ultimately, this helps to ensure the proper use of valuable NHS resources and a safer, more secure environment in which to deliver and receive care.

The overwhelming majority of patients and professionals would not dream of stealing from the NHS, but a small minority of patients and health service staff do just that.

Every time they commit fraud, patient care suffers. The law abiding public have the right to expect the NHS to safeguard public funds and to crack down on those committing fraud.

Fraud in the health service takes many forms. Often it is relatively low value and opportunistic. Sometimes, it is high value and committed by skilled criminals.

Patient fraud includes wrongful claiming of exemption from fees, alteration of prescriptions, and persons from abroad receiving health treatments that they are not entitled to and using aliases to obtain controlled drugs.

The NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service exists to fight NHS fraud.  The counter fraud strategy countering fraud in the NHS, intends:

  • To reduce fraud to an absolute minimum within a set timescale
  • To put in place arrangements to hold fraud at a minimum level permanently; and to target more NHS resources at providing better patient care

The most powerful incentive to tackle the problem of NHS fraud is the need to ensure that resources are not lost to fraud, but are used for better systems and services delivering improved patient care.  Not acting against fraud, can undermine the reputation, integrity and professionalism of the NHS and perceptions about the quality of the services it provides leading to a loss in public confidence.

Success in combating fraud depends on the co-operation and involvement of both patients and staff at all levels within the NHS.