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Monday, 10 February, 2003, 10:58 GMT
70 to shop prescription frauds
Prescription
Prescription fraud is a serious problem
Pharmacists are to be awarded a 70 fee every time they identify prescription fraud.

Previously the most they could claim - apart from exceptional circumstances - was 10 per case under the Pharmacy Reward Scheme (PRS).

Ministers hope the increased fee will make the scheme even more successful at combating prescription fraud - a serious problem for the NHS.

It is estimated that prescription fraud by patients has fallen by 41% since the scheme was first introduced, alongside other measures, in June 1999.

It is vital that we all work together to create a culture that does not tolerate any dishonest activity

Sue Sharpe
However, fraud by patients still costs the NHS 69m a year.

Health Minister Lord Philip Hunt said: "The NHS has already seen a huge reduction in the amount of money lost to NHS services due to pharmaceutical patient fraud but there is still more to do.

"I believe that this reward of 70 will be seen as an extra incentive for all pharmacists to tackle patient fraud in their local communities."

Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, welcomed the announcement.

She said: "In some parts of the NHS there is an acceptance of fraud, and it is vital that we all work together to create a culture that does not tolerate any dishonest activity."

Under the old rules, pharmacists received a maximum of 10 for identifying prescription fraud, except in special circumstances where they were eligible for a share of the savings that resulted from exposing the fraud.

However, only a tiny proportion of cases qualified for this bonus payment, and it has now been scrapped.

Similar schemes are planned for dentistry and optometry.

See also:

12 Jul 01 | Health
30 Jan 02 | Health
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