NHS Counter Fraud Service slated after trial collapses

As reported in the Health Service Journal (HSJ – 25 June 2009), the former chief executive of a private hospital group has criticised the NHS Counter Fraud Service and police after his trial for fraud collapsed.

Andrew Breeze, and former finance director Dominic Wilson of  Norfolk, were found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud the health service of more than £2m, at the direction of a judge at Ipswich crown court.

The Crown Prosecution Service had said earlier it would offer no further evidence.

Mr Breeze said the investigation into the case had been incompetent and had assumed he and his co-defendant were guilty.

He said the cost of the three year investigation and seven week trial was likely to be several million pounds.

Mr Breeze, a former board member at a mental health trust with 30 years’ NHS service, said he hoped to return to work in the psychiatric sector.

David Prior, chair of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals foundation trust and former chair of Chancellor Care, said the two men had been through three years of utter misery.

Mr Prior was himself investigated by police but not charged. He stood down temporarily as Norfolk and Norwich chair during the investigation.

“It’s a tragedy that it was allowed to get to court,” he said.

“Before the prosecution case was even finished they had to give up.

“People who have not been through this process can have no idea how debilitating it is.

“It is shameful that it was allowed to happen.”

Read the full HSJ article here.

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