Minister Promises Fraud Investigation

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), June 10, 2010 | Go to article overview

Minister Promises Fraud Investigation


Byline: Rob Merrick

A MERSEY hospital trust faces a government investigation after being accused of harbouring a "culture of fraud" during a Commons debate last night.

Health minister Simon Burns agreed to step in after Birkenhead MP Frank Field made the accusation against Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Trust.

The move follows revelations that a doctor used NHS laboratories at Arrowe Park Hospital to carry out around 180 blood tests, without declaring they were his private patients.

Separately, the trust was later fined more than pounds 1m for "fiddling their accident and emergency figures", the Labour MP said.

Mr Field said: "I allege there is a culture of fraud in this hospital trust which is not being taken seriously by the chairman and the directors of that trust."

In response, Mr Burns ordered his officials to launch a review of an internal probe already carried out by the trust into the GP's activities, which found there was "insufficient evidence" of fraud. He said: "If there is ever any suspicion of fraud, it must not only be investigated thoroughly, it must be seen to be investigated thoroughly.

"I hope this will clearly demonstrate that I, and this Government, take the issues of fraud in the NHS very seriously indeed.

"Where it is committed, it must be rooted out."

Last night, Len Richards, the trust's chief executive, insisted it was "absolutely committed to openness, honesty and transparency in all that we do". …

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