Failings in Capita's NHS support services 'have major impact on patient care'

By agency reporter
January 22, 2018

Following two years of operation of the Primary Care Support Service England (PCSE) by the private company Capita on behalf of NHS England, a new survey of practices and GPs by the BMA provides clear evidence of continued serious failings that are impacting patients and practices.

The BMA GP committee has written to the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, to express its deep concern, and to demand action is urgently taken to address these problems, which have a major impact on patient care. The BMA said it had not seen adequate improvement, while the system for resolving problems has slowed down significantly.

The letter, from GP committee England chair Dr Richard Vautrey, outlines key findings of the survey of practices and individual GPs which shows continuing issues across all areas of PCSE, which covers patient records, registrations, medical supplies and payments.

The survey found that:

  • 88 per cent of practices had patient records waiting for collection, while 93 per cent were awaiting the delivery of patient records;
  • 64 per cent of practices said they had received incorrect patient records in the last three months;
  • 62 per cent of practices said urgent requests for patient care were not actioned within three weeks;
  • More than a third (39 per cent) of practices said patient registrations were not processed within three days.

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said: “These new findings tell a now all too familiar story, that after two years of promises PCSE/Capita and NHS England are continuing to fail to deliver the essential service practices rely on and this is having a real impact on patient care. The BMA has for the last two years tried to work with NHS England to resolve the issues caused by Capita’s shambolic running of GP backroom services, but we have so far been met with hollow commitments as responses.

“The fact that almost all practices are either waiting for patient records to be delivered or collected is extremely concerning, as patients cannot be given the safe and proper care they need if doctors do not hold correct information about them. A majority of practices also said they had received incorrect medical records, which is a clear breach of data protection.

“As we saw with the collapse of Carillion this week, significant problems can arise when public services are outsourced to a private company in an attempt to cut costs. We warned at the time that this would happen and our concerns were ignored.  NHS England can no longer ignore two years of failure which is why we’re calling for them to take urgent action to address these long-running issues immediately.”

More information on the BMA’s  work on PCSE failings here 

* British Medical Association


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