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News / April 12, 2013

Northern Ireland counting the cost of NHS dental fraud

by Guy Hiscott

Fraudulent claims made by patients for dental and ophthalmic care is costing the NHS in Northern Ireland £2.8m, it has been claimed.
According to figures released in March by the Health and Social Care Sector’s Counter Fraud and Probity Service (CFPS), thousands of patients are fraudulently claiming exemption from charges. The false claims were identified through a series of random and targeted checks
The cost of fraud is believed to have jumped significantly in the last year, having gone up from £2.2m in 2010-11.
Although 2,072 fixed penalties have been issued by the CFPS for the offence in the last year, just £30,098 was recouped.
The CFPS has asked for more resources to be allocated for tackling the fraud. Its report said: ‘We recommend consideration is given to ensuring CFPS have the appropriate level of resources.
‘Northern Ireland Audit Office considers that CFPS’ work should be supported by IT resources that facilitate the operational and strategic management of its activity and performance as well as the management of individual fraud investigations. This should enable a shift from reactive to more proactive/targeted activity, with a likely increase in both the efficiency and effectiveness of CFPS’s work.’