Patients face fine in curb on prescription fraud

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A crackdown on prescription fraud to save the NHS pounds 100m a year was announced by the Government yesterday. Patients who evade the pounds 5.60 prescription charge will be liable to a fixed penalty fine and a new criminal offence will be introduced for doctors, pharmacists or others who cheat the system. Alan Milburn, the Minister for Health, said the scale of the losses, revealed by a government efficiency scrutiny, was staggering - enough to pay for 14,500 heart bypass operations or 6,500 kidney transplants.

In a few cases doctors and pharmacists had invented non-existent patients. In one case in Leeds a doctor and a pharmacist had made about pounds 1m. Anti- counterfeiting devices are to be introduced into the printing of prescription forms and a reward scheme set up for pharmacies that detect stolen forms. Mr Milburn said: "This government is not prepared to tolerate this kind of law-breaking in the NHS ... Those who are currently defrauding the health service and the taxpayer should be under no illusion. We will find you and we will punish you."

Comments