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NHS staff in Wirral help crack major £1.8 million fraud scam

NHS staff in Wirral help crack major £1.8 million fraud scam

Local NHS staff are being praised for helping to jail a gang connected with a £1.8 million fraud scam.

Employees from both Wirral University Teaching Hospital and Wirral Community Trust are being thanked for their vigilance in reporting suspicious activity to NHS fraud officials to investigate.

The Warwickshire gang of five attempted to defraud a number of NHS Trusts, local authorities and other organisations between January 2005 and April 2012. The group were jailed last month for a total of 18 and a half years.

The fraud involved the defendants setting up bogus companies with names similar to official publication companies who advertised public sector jobs. The gang members would then contact the organisation, who had placed job adverts in the genuine publications, claiming that they had not paid for their advertisement. Invoices would then be raised with strict time limits for the payments to be made with the threat of legal action if the balance was not cleared.

Fortunately NHS staff in Wirral had been alerted to the possible threat through the Cheshire and Merseyside Commissioning Support Unit's Fraud and Probity Service. This ensured no bogus invoices were processed.

Alistair Mulvey is Director of Finance at Wirral University Teaching Hospital. He said:

"This was obviously a very complex scam, but the quick thinking of our staff meant we were able to stop any money reaching the wrong hands."

"At a time of financial hardship for the NHS, it's disappointing that fraudsters would target a health service they no doubt rely on and use themselves, and try to steal resources needed to provide care to often vulnerable patients."

Steve Wilson, Director of Finance for Wirral Community NHS Trust said: "Fraud aimed at the NHS is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

"I'm pleased Wirral Community NHS Trust was able to play its part in bringing this gang to justice and we hope these sentences will act as a deterrent to others."

To report any incident of suspected fraud in the NHS, please call the Fraud Corruption Reporting Line on 0800 028 40 60 or report online at www.reportnhsfraud.nhs.uk.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 02 November 2016 16:09

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