Sunday, 3 May 2009

Britain's largest NHS trust conned out of £250k by a taxi firm

A courier firm swindled the NHS out of £250,000 for journeys that never happened.

An average of 20 journeys were faked EVERY DAY, and the scam lasted for more than 18 months. The minimum charge for each journey was £8.60. But some cost cashstrapped hospitals £109 a time.

In one instance Villas's fake ID was used to charge £73.20 to take a patient with lung disease just two miles home. In fact, the trip had been cancelled hours before because the patient was too ill to travel.
This begs a couple of questions.

Firstly, considering the Imperial College NHS Trust is the largest in the country with an £800m budget, is it too much to ask that they might employ an internal auditor to discover invoice fraud over 18 months, instead of needing to be notified by a national newspaper after a tip-off from a whistle-blower (who was ignored by his NHS managers)?

Secondly, wouldn't it be more cost-effective for a trust with an economy of scale, and a large client base, to have a direct labour organisation (ambulances, for example) to carry out the transportation instead of farming it out to a taxi firm with such high charges?

Oh yeah, and another question.

Despite the fraud being discovered, Lewis Day will carry on working for Imperial College NHS Trust because it is tied into a contract.
Err ... who drew up a contract of such magnitude that didn't allow for instant cancellation in the event of proven fraud?

I know the answers - it's not their money, why should they care?

Source: The Mirror

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