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GPs reminded to review impact of NHS lost patient correspondence blunder

GPs have been reminded that they should review the impact of a large number of patient letters that were lost by NHS Shared Business Services.

NHS England said this comes as 30% of practices in England have yet to respond to their request to provide information on potential harm to patients.

This comes as a National Audit Office report published in June found that nearly 2,000 patients may have been harmed by failures of NHS SBS to pass on 700,000 pieces of clinical correspondence for at least five years.

LMCs have reminded practices that they will be paid for the time spent checking their records. NHS England first asked for the information in December 2016, with further prompts in March and May this year.

A bulletin from Cleveland LMC said: 'GPC would encourage practices to undertake this in a timely manner as they are best placed to do it, and should be paid for such work.'

Londonwide LMCs told members that those who provided the information by May should expect payment by September.

Their news bulletin added: 'All practices should respond, even if just to say that they do not believe any patients may have come to harm.'

All cases of potential harm are currently being reviewed by GP national clinical directors at NHS England to confirm whether further action is required.

'They are contacting practices to obtain patient details and can offer practices support if required. They also have the option of asking local area teams to assist with providing information in recognition of workload placed on practices,' Londonwide LMCs said.

There is also a dedicated phone line and email address for NHS England's incident team. Practices can call 0800 028 9723 or email england.sbsincident@nhs.net.

The GP clean-up

Pulse revealed in July 2016 that practices were missing years of correspondence with GP leaders warning there could be ‘huge implications’ if patient care had been delayed.

Mail redirection was part of the support services contract, but was one of a number of services that was not transferred over to Capita when it became sole provider.

In December 2016 NHS England said GPs would be required to review the correspondence to identify if patients had been harmed or put at risk but would be paid for the work entailed from a £2.5m fund.

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