NHS staff in £214million fraud: Crooked GPs and dentists are scamming health service out of fortune every year by claiming money for non-existent services and submitting invoices for DEAD patients
- Cheating GP surgeries and dentists are fleecing NHS out of £214million a year
- Report reveals they claim money for non-existent services and appointments
- The scams come as the Health Service is losing £1.3billion to fraud a year
Cheating GP surgeries and dentists are fleecing the NHS out of £214million a year, a shocking report has revealed.
They are claiming money for non-existent services and appointments – and submitting invoices for patients who have died.
The scams come as the Health Service is losing £1.3billion to fraud a year or £3.5million a day, according to estimates from the NHS watchdog.
This is equivalent to hiring 48,000 junior doctors or 52,000 nurses – or performing 108,000 hip replacements or 650,000 cataract procedures.
Cheating GP surgeries and dentists are fleecing the NHS out of £214million a year, a shocking report has revealed
The NHS Counter Fraud Authority is particularly concerned about rackets at rogue GP practices and dentists.
It suspects they are are routinely claiming money for ‘ghost patients’ who are still on their books despite having died or moved away.
Latest figures suggest there were 3.6million more patients on GP surgery registers in 2018 than there were people living in England.
The scams are continuing despite repeated attempts by NHS officials to crack down on the problem by urging doctors to clean up their lists.
Other GP surgeries are suspected of claiming extra NHS cash for providing treatments which never happened, such as support to stop smoking or contraceptive services.
Meanwhile, some dentists have been forcing patients to come back for multiple procedures to earn extra cash which could have all taken place in one session.
Others are invoicing the NHS for more complex treatments than those actually carried out.
The NHS Counter Fraud Authority insists that these ruses are by no means widespread and the majority of doctors and dentists are honest and conscientious.
The scams come as the Health Service is losing £1.3billion to fraud a year or £3.5million a day, according to estimates from the NHS watchdog
But chief executive Sue Frith said: ‘Fraud against the NHS is insidious and a despicable crime. We will never stop pursuing those who see the NHS budget as a pot of money to line their own pockets.’
Figures compiled by the watchdog, published in an NHS England planning document, show that dental fraud is costing the NHS approximately £126million while GP surgery scams run up an £88million bill.
The document states that GP and dental surgeries are provided by ‘independent contractors’ and ‘high trust environments that present considerable scope for manipulation and sharp practice’.
Senior GPs or partners earn around £105,000 a year while dentists receive between £75,000 and £100,000.
John O’Connell, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘This is an absolutely scandalous waste of taxpayers’ cash. These fraudsters should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.’
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, of the Royal College of GPs, said: ‘GPs and their teams will be shocked and hurt to hear that insinuations they are complicit in somehow defrauding our National Health Service are still being propagated.’
She stressed: ‘Records can never be perfect as our patients’ circumstances change all the time. It is certainly not a case of surgeries deliberately and systematically profiting by keeping patients on their lists when they shouldn’t be there.’
Dave Cottam, of the British Dental Association, said: ‘Anything that takes resources away from patients should be condemned.
‘Sadly confusion is practically written into our contracts. There is no clarity over what the NHS offers and no two dentists would give you the same answer on how treatments are claimed.’
The document also reveals £256million a year is lost to patient fraud, £375million to buying and commissioning scams and further huge amounts to payroll and pharmacy cons.