Dozens of small firms involved in healthcare bonus fraud: RTL

The health ministry has admitted that healthcare companies have committed fraud by wrongly claiming bonuses for workers, but says parliament had insisted on a fast roll-out of the bonus scheme, broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday.

Last year, ministers agreed to give front line healthcare staff a €1,000 bonus last year because of the stress they had been under in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The plan eventually cost €2.2bn, not the €1.4bn forecast, because more claims were made than had been expected.

However, RTL Nieuws reported on Monday that it was aware of dozens of cases in which healthcare firms applied for bonuses for more staff than they actually had or where the money was pocketed by company bosses.

The problem is particularly acute in companies which provide home nursing or youth care, RTL said.

MPs have called on the government to get tough on the fraudsters and for more effort to be made to weed out healthcare firms which are wrongly claiming money.

The healthcare ministry said that it is checking for fraud on the basis of random samples and that so far four companies have been found to have committed fraud involving the bonuses.

This year, the bonus has been reduced to €385.

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