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NHS England 'asked Capita to halt primary care support office closures'

NHS England wrote to Capita to ask it to consider halting the closure of local primary care support service offices in 2016, a report has revealed.

This was one a range of points highlighted in a lengthy National Audit Office report published today, which concluded that NHS England had put patient safety at risk when awarding the 'over-ambitious' contract in 2015.

As revealed by Pulse at the time, the Capita takeover of primary care support functions left practices suffering 'significant and unpredictable' disruption.

The report said Capita 'acknowledges that it made performance issues worse' when it continued to close support offices in the summer of 2016 'even though it was aware' its customer service centre 'was struggling to meet demand'.

It went on to reveal NHS England had tried to intervene but 'did not have the contractual mechanisms' to do so.

The report said: 'In May 2016, NHS England wrote to Capita expressing concerns about the closure of support offices, and asked Capita to reconsider its plans to reduce its number of staff.

'Although Capita's site closure programme required NHS England's engagement throughout the process, the contract did not require NHS England's agreement to close offices, and between May and November 2016, Capita closed a further 20 offices.'

Since Capita took on services, the number of staff involved in primary care support has reduced from 1,650 to 736. Despite this, Capita has made losses worth £125m. Capita had initially envisaged having just 314 PCSE staff by March 2018.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Vinci Ho

    Time and history have become the judge of Health & Social Act (particularly section 75) . We saw the devastation and desolation it can cause from day one.
    ‘Cheaper the better’ had worked for NHSE for saving this £60 million at all costs to us. We are clearly expendable in the eyes of this government and no wonder that many GP colleagues have left . You don’t pay us any respect, why should we carry on for you??
    As I wrote many times before, the historic sin committed by Lord Vader cannot be repaid by him dying ten thousand times. One might be willing to just give a bit of sympathy to Nick when he said ‘ Live by the sword and die by the sword’ when he was defeated in last general election......

    From another angle , the so called pro-business policies of the government had ironically set up ‘traps’ for all these private companies to overbid . They ended up making a big loss of profit . The services provided were substandard . The companies are at risk of folding up . Carillion was dead ; Capita is probably hanging by a thread . Look at the story of the Rail Services on the East Coast Mainline being brought under the government control : Stagecoach and Virgin overbid under the same pattern .
    End of the day , nobody is happy (except NHS England in this story!). Yes , the government might have sucked some money from these ‘greedy’ companies to balance its book .Choice between the two evils , I would rather to raise tax on companies to achieve the ‘goal’......

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