Published: 01/04/2004, Volume II4, No. 5899 Page 25

I write in response to HSJ's ar t ic le on the Counter-Fraud and Security Management Service (news, page 8, 26 February).

Figures from the CFS 19992002 performance statistics report show that 66 per cent of the drop from£117m to£47m in prescription fraud took place in the first year - the figure for 1999-2000 was£69m. There has only been a drop from£69m to£47m since then.

A more powerful and accurate message would have been made by highlighting the number of potential fraud cases detected and investigated. These increased from five in 1998-99 to 503 in 2001-02, and the running total of fraud identified and stopped increased from£39,612 to£18,473,413 in the same period.

Fraud is being detected and prevented and that is good for the NHS.

Dr Nigel Dudley Consultant in elderly medicine St James University Hospital Leeds