The Scottish telecoms provider Oricom has indicated that it is collaborating with NHS fraud officers in what is an ongoing investigation.
Oricom is involved with a raft of NHS contracts in Scotland, and the NHS has evidently decided that it needs to investigate certain financial issues at the company.
Reports have been filed in the British press suggesting that the offices of Oricom were raided in relation to phone maintenance deals between Oricom and communications chiefs at NHS Lothian and NHS Lanarkshire.
It seems that contractual issues are at the heart of the investigation, with the company having several millions already invested in the Scottish health service.
Yet it seems that NHS fraud investigators are exploring the possibility that contracts at the company have breached rules related to financial wrongdoing in the tendering process.
Oricom currently has £7m tied up in contracts with Scottish health boards, and it seems that there may have potentially being a significant fraud involved in the process of acquiring these contracts.
After fraud officers became involved with the company, Oricom was keen to emphasise that it was doing everything possible to cooperate with NHS investigations, and that it was as concerned as the health service itself.
“We want to confirm that we are assisting the NHS with their internal investigations and we will happily continue to do so until the matter is resolved. We would also like to highlight that this is an NHS enquiry, and not a police matter.”
Oricom also suggested that although the incident was undoubtedly worrying for the company, that it had been able to continue with day-to-day operations.
“Oricom remained fully operational during recent events and we are writing to our valued customers and suppliers to ensure [sic] you that Oricom will continue to offer the high standards and services that you are used to.”
There has been no comment from NHS Scotland Counter Fraud Services and the Crown Office, as they have been unwilling to open up regarding what is an ongoing investigation.
But the fraud case will once again lead to question marks over the tendering process in the National Health Service and the involvement of private sector organisations.
In the last couple of weeks, two senior individuals within the NHS were found guilty of having conducted millions of pounds worth of fraud in the health service.
And it is often asserted that large parts NHS operations are being sold off surreptitiously by the government in what represents privatisation by the backdoor.
Such issues will be of concern to taxpayers, as the Oricom investigation continues.