Matt Hancock

Health and Social Care secretary Matt Hancock has announced a five year programme to tackle fraud in the NHS. The headline measure is a commitment to halve prescription fraud, which costs the NHS £256m a year.

Prescription exemptions will be digitised, to enable pharmacies to check whether the patient does not have to pay charge before their medication is dispensed. This will be piloted next year, before being rolled out across the NHS.

Mr Hancock said the Government is “determined to make sure every penny of the extra funding we are giving the NHS as part of our long-term plan is properly spent,” adding: “The message is clear: the NHS is no longer an easy target and if you try to steal from it you will face the consequences.”

Further measures being introduced to stop fraud include:

  • A new partnership between the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) and the fraud prevention service Cifas, allowing NHS counter-fraud professionals to access Cifas data
  • More collaboration and data sharing between the NHS Business Services Authority and NHSCFA to identify the small number of pharmacists and dentists claiming payments for services they have not carried out.

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