My name is Daniel Higgs and, since November 2018, I have been the Local Counter Fraud Specialist (LCFS) at NELFT.
I started in the fraud world in October 2015 when I became a Compliance Officer at a local authority investigating fraudulent Council Tax and Housing Benefit claims. I gained my counter fraud accreditation and haven’t looked back since.
It is often said fraud is a victimless crime, but this is totally untrue. Fraud, even if it’s against an organisation, will always end up affecting individuals. The estimated amount lost to fraud within the NHS is approximately £1.27 billion pounds every year. This money, if not lost, could and should be spent on the important things, such as patients, on employees, on equipment on infrastructure etc...the list could go on. Like me, everybody has a story that links them to the NHS, whether it is care they received personally or for their parents, grandparents, children, friends etc. and I believe we all know how vital the NHS is to our society and why we should all be aware that unfortunately fraud does go on and how important it is to report it and put a stop to it.
Part of my role is to carry out investigations into fraudulent activity and ensure anyone doing so is reprimanded appropriately but I also look for any system weaknesses or gaps in procedures the Trust may have, make recommendations to ‘plug’ these and try and stop any further fraud occurring. Sometimes, it may not be possible to pursue an investigation, through lack of evidence, for example, but if the gap can be plugged it can stop anyone else carrying out the same type of fraud in the future and therefore saves the Trust money.
My goal is to help reduce and remove fraud within the NHS, and if we all share this goal, I know it can be done. The NHS is too important to everyone to be abused and all its resources should be used as intended and not end up in the pockets of fraudsters.