• NHS Protect finds “no evidence” of fraud at Kettering General hospital
  • Investigation followed whistleblower allegation that the trust had deliberately manipulated referral to treatment data

NHS Protect has found no evidence of fraud at Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust, after it was accused of deliberately manipulating waiting times figures

NHS Protect has found no evidence of fraud at Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust, after it was accused of deliberately manipulating waiting times figures 

The hospital had been under investigation since June after a whistleblower alleged the trust had been deliberately manipulating its elective referral to treatment recording.

A spokesman for NHS Protect said: “After undertaking enquiries about Kettering, it is our view that there is no evidence of fraud against the NHS in the claims made, and it is also unlikely fraudulent activity will occur in the future in relation to this issue at the trust”.

In response to the news, Fiona Wise, interim chief executive at the trust, said: “The trust has been informed that the NHS Protect review into the way the trust handled its waiting lists in 2015-2016 has been completed and there was no evidence of fraud. This underlines the position the trust has maintained throughout.”

It is unclear whether Northamptonshire police are considering investigating the trust, although a spokesman told HSJ at the time said that a future police investigation would depend on the outcome of NHS Protect’s work.

David Phelan, the former trust employee who had gone to the police with his concerns, told HSJ: ”At no point has NHS Protect contacted me or interviewed me regarding the [alleged] RTT Fraud at Kettering”.

Last month Kettering strongly denied fraud but admiited its senior managers “failed to act appropriately” to stop patients waiting too long for operations.

A damning internal report into the RTT waits, released by the trust last month, revealed that the trust’s RTT performance data was “fundamentally flawed” for over a decade because it had been using “tactical solutions” to generate data since 2006. It said: “Senior managers [at the trust] were aware of the tactical approach to reporting [RTT] performance” and that the approach had become “normalised”.

The report, by consultants CPA, found that during a four month period in 2015 at least 30,000 patient records in total were omitted from performance data submitted to NHS England.

 

Updated on 8 August after receiving additional information