International Fraud Awareness Week (IFAW) 2019 runs from 17 to 23 November, with hundreds of organisations around the world (among them the NHS) joining this global initiative to raise awareness of fraud and highlight the importance of fraud prevention.
Fraud is estimated to cost the NHS over £1.2 billion each year. This is enough money to pay for over 40,000 nurses or 5,000 front line ambulances. When the NHS becomes a victim of fraud, this means a loss of vital resources intended for patient care. Initiatives like IFAW are a reminder that the NHS isn’t alone in facing the threat of fraud, and that by working together with others the organisation can do something about it.
This year, the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) is running a campaign to help organisations across the NHS take part in IFAW by increasing awareness of NHS fraud among their people. The organisation’s campaign toolkit includes sample content for NHS organisations to use in their local communications, new banners and posters and a new animation showing how fraud affects the NHS in the context of its wider impact.
The central messages of the campaign are that everyone has a role to play in fighting NHS fraud, and that the first step in fighting fraud is knowing how to spot it. To find out what NHS fraud is and see some examples, interested parties can visit the updated What is NHS fraud? page.
The NHS encourages all organisations to use the resources in its campaign toolkit, and the information on the NHSCFA’s website, in order to promote fraud awareness among staff and therefore equip them to ‘Be a fraud fighter’. Anyone can join the fight against NHS fraud by being vigilant, knowing how to stop fraud and reporting any suspicions or concerns.
Suspected NHS fraud may be reported to the NHSCFA on its website or by calling 0800 028 4060 (available 24 hours a day, seven days per week). All reports are treated in confidence and individuals have the option to report anonymously. If you’re working in the NHS or providing NHS services, you can also speak to your Local Counter Fraud Specialist, who’ll be able to provide advice and support on NHS fraud.
Joining a global initiative like IFAW also serves as a reminder that everyone can become a victim of fraud, both individuals and organisations, whether in the public or the private sector. For more information on protection from fraud, individuals can visit Action Fraud.