MPs today said they were shocked and concerned after it was revealed a fraud probe had been launched at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
A senior nurse has been suspended amid a number of serious accusations.
The Gazette understands the National Health Service’s counter fraud team has carried out a six-month investigation into allegations of inflated expense claims, improper conduct and the use of influence to get family members jobs within the hospital trust.
It has also been reported gifts were accepted – including hospitality from major pharmaceutical and medical supply companies – and payments made for work contractors did not carry out.
The suspended member of staff has not been named.
Hospital bosses refused to answer any questions from The Gazette relating to the probe other than to say they would “co-operate fully with all of the relevant agencies”.
In a statement Nick Grimshaw, director of Human Resources for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “While we cannot comment on individual cases the Trust has been working extremely hard to develop an anti-fraud culture and works with the NHS counter fraud service to investigate any allegations of fraud.
“The Trust takes allegations of fraud extremely seriously and will co-operate fully with all of the relevant agencies.”
Blackpool’s MPs Paul Maynard and Gordon Marsden today called for a “thorough investigation” and a review of procedures to ensure the hospital’s “good reputation was maintained”.
Mr Maynard, Blackpool North MP, said: “These are very serious allegations.
He added: “I would not want to pre-judge the outcome of any investigation but I’m quite certain all local residents would want to be confident that tax-payer money which is supporting our NHS is not being abused in any way shape or form.
“I would welcome a thorough investigation.
“Blackpool Victoria Hospital is rightly a well regarded, well-run hospital and I would hope and expect the Trust will take the necessary steps to ensure that good reputation is maintained.”
Gordon Marsden, Blackpool South MP, said: “We must not pre-judge the outcome of this investigation, but the list of issues that have been raised is potentially extremely concerning.
“As well as co-operating fully with the investigation I hope the hospital will take the opportunity of this case to review thoroughly their guidelines and procedures across the whole of their estate for these sort of things.”
NHS Protect – the counter fraud service – said it could not comment on any investigation.
Lancashire Police has confirmed it is not involved in the investigation.