Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) is showing its support for International Fraud Awareness Week (IFAW) to raise awareness of fraud committed against the NHS.
IFAW takes place from 17th November to 23rd November, celebrating counter fraud work and raising fraud awareness across all sectors. WWL is participating in the week by joining the NHS Counter Fraud Authority’s (NHSCFA) national campaign to raise awareness of fraud, bribery and corruption committed against the NHS and wider health service.
Every year, fraud costs the NHS an estimated £1.27 billion, equivalent to over 56,000 junior doctors or over 40,000 staff nurses. Fraud is committed by a wide range of people, from NHS staff and the general public, to suppliers.
Although fraud is committed by a small minority of people, it has a big impact on NHS resources and patient care. Raising awareness of its impact and the ways to mitigate the risk of fraud is essential in reducing fraud affecting the NHS.
WWL employs a dedicated in-house full-time Local Counter Fraud Specialist (LCFS), Collette Ryan. Collette is responsible for all counter fraud activity at WWL. This includes creating an anti-fraud culture amongst staff and the public as well as deterring those who would wish to defraud the organisation. The role also includes preventing, detecting and investigating fraud.
Those found to have committed fraud can expect disciplinary, civil and criminal action to be taken against them. All monies lost to fraud will be recovered.
Collette said: “I have been at the Trust since 2009 and I have developed levels of fraud awareness amongst staff and they report their concerns and suspicions as a result, this rapport has resulted in staff being able to report matters face to face with confidence and the Trust can demonstrate an embedded anti-fraud culture”.
Collette continued: “Fraud against the NHS is something that we need to raise awareness of both internally and externally, as it affects all of us. Our inclusion in international fraud awareness week will shed light on the ways in which people commit fraud against the NHS, how we can all work together to mitigate the risks and the work we do to fight economic crime affecting the NHS.
“Fraud is not a victimless crime. These valuable funds are meant for patient care so we want to send a clear message that there is zero tolerance to fraud, corruption and bribery and it will not be tolerated in our Trust.
“Disciplinary, Civil and Criminal prosecution of offenders will be considered in all cases. If staff or patients are unclear what fraud is, as a rule of thumb, if somebody does something dishonest to gain a financial advantage that can more than likely be classed as fraud.”
The NHSCFA’s campaign aims to communicate to staff their role in fighting fraud and the ways senior staff members can engage and support this by helping to spread awareness such as the different areas of fraud, what to look out for and how to report it.
It highlights that NHS staff can report their concerns internally to appointed Local Counter Fraud Specialists (LCFSs), and to make the general public aware that they can report to the NHSCFA through their online report or the national fraud and corruption number (details below).
If you suspect that anyone is committing fraud or another economic crime against the NHS, tell NHSCFA about it – you can call their 24-hour, confidential reporting line 0800 028 40 60 or visit their website to report online: cfa.nhs.uk
Local Counter Fraud Specialist – Collette Ryan – firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01257 256204
“NHS fraud. Spot it, report it, together we stop it”