Tower Hamlets July 20 Composite 600

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Police to probe hospital accused of removing patients from waiting lists

Allegations that Kettering General Hospital removed patients from waiting lists are being revisited by police who say they are launching an investigation of possible False or Misleading Information Offences (FOMI) offences by the hospital.

In a letter from Heath Secretary Matt Hancock to Labour's health spokesman, Jonathan Ashworth, the Health Secretary said the force was looking into allegations of False or Misleading Information Offences (FOMI).

In 2017, whistle-blower, David Phelan, a former manager at the hospital, had claimed exclusions were applied to computer code to remove patients to improve waiting time-target performance.

Phelan said that he discovered managers at Kettering General Hospital had used six exclusion categories to remove patients from their official waiting list data.

The ensuing investigation found that 138 patients were harmed and a further 282 patients waited more than a year for treatment.

At the time the hospital admitted using inappropriate filtering of its data to remove patients. But it said Mr Phelan's allegations that it had done so "to make our figures look better and to avoid fines from our commissioners for long waiting patients" was "entirely false".

According to the BBC, documents reveal detectives from the force’s Economic Crimes Unit are being tasked with the investigation.

To minimise disruption during the coronavirus pandemic the detectives "will only obtain and request relevant material to FOMI offences in the form of accounts and evidence from previous investigations; this will predominantly be (the) NHS Counter Fraud Authority's original investigation".

A previous inquiry into the allegations by NHS Protect, since replaced by the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, found no evidence of fraud.

Adam Carey

 

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