WIGAN’S hospitals trust says it is doing all it can to combat fraud which costs the NHS £5bn every year.
Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) says it has been proactive in tackling fraud by employing its own in-house full time local counter fraud specialist.
In the past year, WWL has had 33 referrals of suspected fraud and 72 referrals of suspected fraud by potential overseas visitors. Appropriate sanctions including criminal prosecutions have been taken where fraud has been proved, during the last year.
So far this year the trust has been able to recover nearly £32,000 of fraudulently obtained money.
This includes creating an anti-fraud culture amongst staff and the public say hospital chiefs as well as deterring those who would wish to defraud the organisation.
Fraud is theft including deception. The role of the fraud specialist 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.
Last year, Maria Daley - a former cancer nurse - was convicted of theft after setting up a charity in the oncology unit’s name and stealing funds.
Also, the trust are currently taking part in a pilot scheme to tackle the cost of treating foreign patients.
Since the implementation of the European Health Income programme (EHIP)in December, Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust has already recouped £27,000 owed to them by patients from other European countries.
Another area of work is to ensure that a sufficiently robust and “fit for purpose” counter fraud service is delivered.
WWL say they are committed to the NHS counter fraud strategy, which aims to reduce fraud to an absolute minimum, keep it there permanently, enabling us to target more NHS resources at providing better patient care.