See this in the Independent today on NHS England:
‘Vulnerable patients have been wrongly fined millions of pounds by the NHS for prescription fraud, the National Audit Office has found. One in three fines handed to the elderly, sick or people on benefits in the past five years has been overturned because recipients qualified for free treatment – meaning more than £188m in incorrect penalties. Critics said the mistakes, affecting tens of thousands of patients, showed the government’s austerity measures have led to a system “built on the presumption of guilt”.’
I’m not entirely shocked to read of this kind of thing after a decade and more of Tory mismanagement of NHS England and wider attacks on the concept of caring, but I thought I’d better check that NHS Scotland are not doing something similar, undermining my theory that we do things differently, more humanely here.
So, I had a good search but only found nurses overclaiming overtime, equipment theft from hospitals and, of course, dentists charging for jobs they didn’t do. Then I found this from BBC Scotland based on a FoI request in 2014:
Aha, BBC Scotland’s investigation team will have found some rich, preferably foreign, old folk who haven’t paid for treatment. Nope!
The report is indignant about the effects that fraud can have on the service:
‘People not getting the treatment they need, sometimes having to wait longer for that treatment, and that’s why it’s an important problem which needs to be tackled very seriously with an appropriate level of investment in that work.’
But, no mention at all of fraud by patients of the kind the Independent reported in England:
‘According to the FOI results, the most common types of fraud committed by NHS staff was working in another job while on sick leave or shifts not worked.’
As always, I welcome correction of my ‘facts.’