£1.49 billion is the upper estimate of the cost of fraudulent payroll claims made by agency staff working for the NHS, according to a report published this week. The NHS spends approximately £3.3 billion on agency staff every year.
The report, by former NHS anti-fraud boss Jim Gee, found many instances of healthcare workers with incorrect employment histories slipping through the net. The payroll fraud stems from false allowance claims and incorrect qualifications used by professionals – especially agency staff.
Stamping this out is the remit of dedicated compliance teams, set up to advice recruiters on the accuracy of candidate’s claims. Some agencies employ their own compliance teams to vet those on their books.
Another approach is to limit the number of clinicians that an agency consultant can work with. This way they will build up a much more accurate understanding of the candidate and be able to work out if they may be lying about their qualifications.
As one agency Director said “It's expected of us by the NHS, and our entire raison d'etre is predicated on supplying medical professionals who are all robustly verified and checked,”