16 November 2016

We all pay the price for fraud against the health service

That is the message from the Business Services Organisation (BSO) as they lend their support to International Fraud Awareness Week (13 – 19 November 2016) along with their colleagues in NHS Protect (England and Wales) and NHS Scotland Counter Fraud Services.

Liam McIvor, Chief Executive of the Business Services Organisation said: “While the vast majority of people who work for or use Health and Social Care (HSC) services in the north of Ireland are honest, there are a minority of individuals who attempt to defraud our health service”

Liam McIvor added: “Fighting fraud is a year-round battle for the BSO’s counter fraud experts but initiatives such as International Fraud Awareness Week help refocus the attention of staff and the public to the issue of fraud. After all, fraud is not a victimless crime. It has repercussions for everyone, whether or not they are a direct victim of the crime. Every penny lost impacts on the services we can deliver and the care we can provide”

Even the smallest of losses can have an impact. For example submitting a false or inflated travel claim of just £4.00 could pay for a meal service delivered to a client’s home.

In the last 12 months, the BSO counter fraud team have examined some 169 cases of suspected fraud and have secured a number of criminal prosecutions and financial recoveries.

Patrick O’Hara, Assistant Director of BSO Counter Fraud and Probity Services added: “The role of my team is not only to investigate cases of suspected fraud, but to work in conjunction with other HSC organisations to prevent and detect fraud. We are also very much focused on raising awareness amongst staff and the public that every penny lost to fraud has a detrimental impact on the delivery of front line services.”

Patrick O’Hara continued: “It is valuable public money we are seeking to keep safe, money that has been diverted from the care of HSC patients who are the real victims of health service fraud. It is important we send a clear message that fraud will not be tolerated.”

To report an incident of suspected fraud, please call the HSC Fraud Hotline on 0800 096 33 96 or send a report online at:

Notes to editors:

1. Counter Fraud Services are responsible for the investigation of all cases of suspected fraud across Health and Social Care.

2. Examples of types of fraud.

Fraud against HSC by patients includes:

  • falsely claiming help with dental or ophthalmic charges
  • attempting to obtain prescription drugs by deception

Fraud by staff against HSC includes:

  • falsifying qualification to gain employment
  • submitting timesheets for hours not worked
  • submitting travel claims for inflated mileage or journeys that were not work-related
  • abuse of sick leave eg working for an agency while on sick leave
  • misuse of HSC resources for personal gain

Fraud by practitioners includes:

  • claiming for treatment not provided
  • charging for items of a higher cost than those supplied
  • charging patients privately while also claiming reimbursement from the health service

3. You can follow Counter Fraud Services on Facebook at BSO Counter Fraud Services or on Twitter @bsocfs

4. Media enquiries about this press release to DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0074, or out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt