Fraud may be costing the NHS £5bn a year. Errors may be costing a further £2bn per year, according to the former head of the NHS anti-fraud section. These losses (to fraud alone) might be used to fund 250,000 new nurses, according to a report reviewed prior to publication by BBC’s Panorama.
NHS fraud and error ‘costing the UK £7bn a year’. London: BBC Health News, March 24th 2014.
Does fraud really cost NHS £5bn a year? London: BBC News, March 24th 2014.
These fraud estimates are repeated (broadly) in 2015.
Possibly also of interest, it is estimated that 30 million prescription items, worth around £237 million in lost revenue to the NHS per annum, are claimed free incorrectly each year:
Roberts, M. (2014). Prescription fraud clampdown plan heavily criticised. London: BBC Health News, December 30th 2014.
On the other hand, no prescription charges apply at all in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
November 2017 Update
Triggle, N. (2017). ‘Despicable’ fraud costs NHS in England £1bn a year. London: BBC Health News, November 1st 2017.