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How you can help us stamp out fraudsters

By Mark Harvey

Fraud is a global problem affecting organisations in both the private and public sector.

From my time as head of the Counter Fraud and Probity Service in the BSO, I have learned the health service in Northern Ireland is no exception.

The vast majority of HSC staff and the public who make use of the health service are honest people who would never seek to abuse our most valued institution.

Unfortunately, as in any walk of life, there are those who try to cheat the system.

In supporting the International Fraud week campaign, we in the Counter Fraud Service, along with our HSC colleagues, want to shine a light on this issue and make people aware of the many types of fraud that we come across, so that they can recognise them wherever they may occur in the health service, report their suspicions, anonymously if they wish, via our hotline or online reporting tool and help us to stop this drain on our vital health service resources.

Our awareness work with GPs and pharmacists in addressing this problem is an example of how the health service can work together to stamp out fraud.

We have a dedicated team which includes our fraud prevention staff who deliver training to health service employees and raise awareness of the zero tolerance approach to fraud.

We also have an accredited team of counter-fraud specialists who investigate these cases, 96% of which are referred to the public prosecution service and lead to a successful prosecution.

The health service is something we should all value and protect.

I am proud to work within it and in these financially challenging times I am more eager than ever to stop every penny potentially being drained away from frontline services. Let's work together to stamp out fraud.

Mark Harvey is head of Counter Fraud in BSO

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