Pharmacists 'fiddling figures'29th December 2006
Pharmacists are facing accusations of fiddling figures on helping smokers to quit to claim NHS bonuses.
Under the government scheme, chemists can claim cash rewards of up to £85 for each successful patient they helped stop smoking for at least four weeks. The system uses two consecutive low carbon monoxide readings.
Now counter-fraud specialists are investigating claims at five primary care trusts in London that pharmacists may have faked their figures, with one claiming a 100 per cent success rate. The best rates are generally around 55 per cent.
And the NHS counter-fraud team is considering a nationwide exercise to establish the extent of the problem, which some fear may be costing the health service millions.
The NHS has said that it will prosecute where fraud is found.
Now anti-smoking campaigners are asking the government to introduce a monitoring system to ensure that every penny of the £61m programme is used to help people give up cigarettes.
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