The NHS Counter Fraud Authority and the NHS Business Services Authority will share pharmacy data to crack down on “large-scale scams” by “a minority of pharmacists and dentists”, which are “impacting heavily” on the total fraud bill in England, the DH announced yesterday (October 14).
It gave the example of a pharmacist in north London who was handed a 12-month prison sentence and £45,000 fine after “abusing the prescriptions system, including repeat prescriptions”.
The drive to spot pharmacists wrongly claiming payments is part of the DH’s wider crackdown on NHS fraud to prevent up to £300 million being stolen by April 2020, it said.
The crackdown includes digitising prescription exemptions to allow pharmacies to check whether patients are exempt before medication is dispensed.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the initiative is sending a “clear message” that the NHS is “no longer an easy target”.
“We are determined to make sure every penny of the extra funding we are giving the NHS as part of our long-term plan is properly spent,” he said.
“If you try to steal from it, you will face the consequences,” Mr Hancock added.