The importance of protecting colleagues and preventing loss

Luke Hudman, our group loss prevention manager, is the first pharmaceutical industry representative to be invited to sit on the judging panel at the Fraud Awards. Luke shares his thoughts on protecting colleagues and loss prevention ahead of the Awards.

The protection and security of our colleagues is my number one priority, ensuring they feel safe in their workplace is paramount. In my role as McKesson UK loss prevention manager, I work closely with many different teams to support over 1,500 community pharmacies outlets and 17 pharmaceutical warehouses. If there has been an incident, for example a break in, that automatically becomes a focus for my team, as it’s vital that normal service is resumed as quickly as possible so that patients, customers and colleagues aren’t affected.

I am also responsible for dealing with counter terrorism and am the counter fraud specialist for the group, accountable for the prevention and detection of fraud, bribery and corruption. The insights into fraud that this role has provided me have helped build relationships with the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA), an intelligence-led health authority charged with identifying, investigating and preventing fraud and other economic crime within the NHS and the wider health group. Employing specialists in intelligence, fraud prevention, computer forensics, fraud investigation, financial investigation, data analysis and communications, the NHSCFA use information from a wide range of sources to build a better understanding of the fraud risks faced by the NHS and develop creative, innovative and proportionate solutions to tackle fraud.

The NHS loses an estimated 1.29 billion pounds a year due to fraud – enough money to fund 40,000 staff nurses or 5,000 front-line ambulances. It’s critical we actively support organisations such as the NHSCFA with the fight against fraud and help free up additional funds for patient care. So, it’s vital that pharmaceutical loss is recognised in the same manner as retail loss at awards such as the Fraud Awards.

With an increasingly unpredictable economic climate, it’s essential to have the appropriate measures in place to protect both our colleagues and our businesses. McKesson UK has robust action plans for when incidents take place, covering network operations, HR, supply chain and property and development. The information our pharmacy teams report regarding crime and security-related incidents is fed into our risk database. The loss prevention team use this information to decide what security measures are needed in pharmacies, such as CCTV, staff safe systems or shutters, to minimise any risk to employees.

After nearly 15 years with the company I have seen many changes within the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS. Heads of pharmaceutical loss prevention never used to talk to one another but now we have quarterly meetings to share best practice, information, intelligence and lobby on matters of national importance. This can include high value theft of drugs in other countries, drug diversions and organised crime. I’ve also witnessed how our leadership teams have petitioned government to make positive changes to drive our healthcare vision forward.

Looking through the entries for this year’s Awards, I’ve been impressed by the innovative work presented by individuals, teams and senior leaders. There have also been some great examples of how successful collaborations are creating tangible business benefits along with clear return on investment.

These Awards celebrate the best in our profession and aim to inspire others to do even better. I’m honoured to have been invited to be a judge, to present one of the awards and to see the pharmaceutical industry recognised as an integral part of the loss prevention industry. It’s something I feel strongly about, and I’ve been pushing for it to be recognised for several years now, so I’m thrilled that finally it has. I’m the first pharmaceutical loss prevention manager to sit on the judging panel in seven years, representing over 600 experts in our field, which makes me very proud.