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GPs condemn NHS England for ‘destructive narrative’ in fraud report

GPs leaders have accused NHS England of tarnishing their reputation and have demanded an immediate apology.

Delegates at the England LMCs conference last week condemned an NHS report that claimed general practice was defrauding the NHS of £88m per year.

The report, released in September, said that fraud within general practice included list inflation, claiming for services not provided, quality payments manipulation, conflicts of interest and self-prescribing.

The document, which revealed figures from the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, found that primary care services, including pharmacy and dentistry, contributed to 58% of the estimated £1.29bn losses.

At the time, the BMA said it was wrong to extrapolate figures that ‘don’t have a firm basis’ and send the wrong message to GPs and practice staff. 

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland LMC medical secretary Dr Anu Rao, who presented the motion, told delegates the report brought general practice into disrepute and needed to be condemned. 

She said: ‘This entire report by NHS England is nothing but another insult to the already demoralised profession. 

‘General practice is the bedrock of our national health service. As GPs, we strive to provide the best high-quality healthcare to all of our patients and we do this under extreme pressures of dwindling resources and rising workload.

‘We need to condemn NHS England for bringing general practice into disrepute by making false accusations. We demand an immediate apology from NHS England for undermining our integrity.’

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BMA GP Committee deputy chair Mark Sanford-Wood said: ‘99.9% of GPs and their staff go to work every day with only one thought in mind and that’s to deliver the best possible care that they can under very severely limited resources. 

‘We would never defend those genuinely exceptional cases where there is true fraud but they are genuinely exceptional and for NHS England to extrapolate those occurrences to tarnish the entire profession is unacceptable and it needs to stop right now.’

NHS England has been approached for comment. 


That conference with reference to the recent NHS England strategy document on bribery and fraud:

i. condemns deliberate fraud but similarly condemns NHS England for producing a report implying widespread fraud exists in general practice

ii. considers NHS England to have knowingly brought general practice into disrepute and demands a public apology

iii. insists GPC England must raise a formal complaint with NHS England and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care when such destructive narratives occur

iv. mandates GPC England to work with NHS England to address the offensive culture in NHS England which has allowed general practice to be referred to in this way.