NHS Opticians emerge as biggest cheats in fraud inquiry

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The Independent Online
Fraud in the NHS is on the increase, and opticians are emerging as the biggest cheats, according to a survey by the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

It identified 71 cases of actual or suspected fraud by health professionals, worth pounds 3.7m, which was said to be the tip of the iceberg. Over the past three years "several tens of millions" of pounds are thought to have been swindled from the taxpayer.

The association obtained replies from 82 of the 120 health authorities in England, Wales and Scotland. These identified 96 cases, 71 of which provided a loss figure. The average loss for each fraud was pounds 52,183.

The cases included an optician who made several claims for eye tests and glasses for an elderly patient who had died and another who added tinted lenses to a prescription for plain glasses after it had been signed by the patient. Jeremy Laurance