The security of the NHS in England from crime has been strengthened today because of the launch of NHS Protect, according to its managing director Dermid McCausland.
NHS Protect – the operating name of the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service – has national responsibility to lead work on protecting NHS staff and resources from crime.
NHS Protect will tackle crimes against the NHS that would otherwise undermine the effectiveness and ability of the health service to meet the needs of patients and professionals.
It has responsibility for tackling fraud, bribery, violence, corruption, criminal damage, theft and other unlawful action such as market-fixing.
NHS Protect will coordinate and regulate the existing investment made by health bodies to tackle crime, as well as dealing with those complex and cross-boundary cases that cannot be dealt with locally.
McCausland set out the organisation’s approach to tackling crime against the health service: “We will apply a strategic, coordinated and intelligence-led approach to identifying and tackling crime against the NHS at the earliest possible opportunity.
“By managing information and intelligence from all parts of the NHS and sharing this data as required, we can target and coordinate our work to best effect, as well as providing increased levels of support, guidance and direction to local NHS bodies.
“This joined-up approach to tackling crime in the NHS will enable the proper use of valuable NHS resources to create a safer, more secure environment in which to deliver and receive NHS care.”
The new NHS Protect will build on the successes of the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service, which recovered over £65 million between 1999 and 2010.
Dr Bernard Herdan, CEO of the National Fraud Authority (NFA), said:
“With public sector fraud costing the UK £21.2 billion a year, NHS Protect is a vital link in the fight against fraud, complementing the work the NFA and Cabinet Office have undertaken to reduce fraud across Government. In particular, NHS Protect will have an important role to play during the ongoing evolvement of NHS structures and services in ensuring new systems put in place engineer out fraud from the start.”
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “We welcome the creation of NHS Protect, and hope they will continue the excellent work of the NHS Security Management Service in protecting nurses and healthcare assistants from physical and verbal abuse.
“All NHS employers need to ensure that they take all necessary steps to protect their staff from violence and abuse, and we hope that NHS Protect will support this very strongly.
“As more and more parts of the NHS face pressures from cutbacks, tensions could rise and this could become even more important. The NHS should be tough on the perpetrators of assaults, as well as ensuring that crime does not jeopardise patient care.”
NHS Protect website