Jon Restell, chief executive of Managers in Partnership, raises concern about the sometimes ambiguous terms of reference used by the NHS Counter Fraud Service, and questions whether such matters should be dealt with by auditors.

An investigation will broaden or change direction according to the evidence it reveals. To be too open about its course may well hinder its chances of success, allowing anyone who was so minded to subvert it.

While the process may seem unsettling to some, the service can be confident that investigations are conducted to the highest standard by professionally trained specialists working to the exacting standards of the criminal justice system.

Specialist investigators

The best people to investigate these cases are counter-fraud specialists who have the training and skills necessary to bring an enquiry to a satisfactory conclusion - whether that be proving or disproving that a fraud has taken place.

To say that this function should be conducted by auditors is to severely underestimate the specialist skills required.

Defrauding the NHS should not be considered an acceptable solution to a problem, no matter how demanding the circumstances.

Zoe Porton, acting head of corporate affairs, NHS Counter Fraud Service