With the NHS struggling for money, there is no doubt that there needs to be a focus on any wastage or even fraud that is going on in the body. When you think about the number of complaints and criticisms about a lack of money in the healthcare body, you would think that every penny would be a prisoner, closely watched until it is used.
This is sadly not the case though, the very nature of the NHS means that there are many departments and many people coming and going, all looking to do the best for their team. This means that there are plenty of cracks and gaps in the operation, which could see people engaging in fraudulent activity with public money.
There is no getting away from the fact that most fraud occurs when an opportunity arises. There will be some people who think of a fraud and then construct a plan to put it into place. However, there will be more people who see an opportunity for fraud in their workplace or somewhere that they know and then engage a plan around that. Due to the inefficiencies in the NHS, there are probably plenty of ways that people could take advantage of the system. Thankfully, the vast majority of people will avoid this sort of behaviour but there will be some people who decide that this risk is a risk worth taking.
The NHS cannot Afford to Lose Any Money
This is one of the reasons why the NHS is struggling but there are always investigations into alleged fraud and criminal activity with NHS money. This is why the news that fifteen people have been charged after an investigation into fraud against private and public bodies will be important news for many people. The fact that the alleged fraud amounts to £12m suggests that this is a lot of money with a lot of people involved.
If you think about what could be done with £12m, you will soon see why a lot of people will get angry about this style of fraud. In the grand scheme of things, £12m may not be a lot of money in the NHS but it clearly is a huge sum and when it comes from departments or regional areas, it is a huge total to be missing out. While full details are still to emerge of the allegations, it is known that NHS Trusts and the Guernsey Government have been targets of the fraud.
A statement released by the Crown Prosecution Service referred to the crime as being a “divert fraud” and that the crimes were mainly taken against public bodies. The timescale for the fraudulent activity ran between January of 2011 and July of 2012.
A Diversion Style of Fraud was Undertaken
It is believed that the organisations who would become victims in the crime were contacted by a number of people who claimed that they were legitimate construction firms. These “companies” then offered up false bank details to receive payment. All of the suspects who have been charged were investigation by Lincolnshire Police, Economic Crime Unit, NHS Protect and Guernsey Police.
The extent of the activity has seen people from all across the United Kingdom being arrested and charged, which perhaps indicate how widespread it is. When you have government bodies or bodies like the NHS, you can see how behaviour in one part of the country could be replicated elsewhere. Given the different bodies, you may think that you would be able to carry out these acts without anyone else finding up, with every fraudulent activity almost being a standalone act.
However, it has to be said that investigative powers are now a lot stronger and there is a higher level of collaboration between different departments and units, all across the country. This means that a similar form of behaviour in different areas is more likely to be flagged up than ever before, which could well see many forms of fraudulent activity being punished.
Anyone that is charged with this sort of crime will need a high level of legal representation. When different departments across the country work together on cases, there is going to be a clamour for a high level of punishment, and this is where there is a need for strong representation and support. Experienced defence solicitors, especially when the sums of money involved are so high, are vital and they can often make all the difference when it comes to a client receiving a fair trial.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.