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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

BMA ‘exploring’ legal action after Capita wrongly archived patient records

Exclusive The BMA’s legal team is exploring ‘all avenues available’ after Capita wrongly archived 160,000 patient records in a processing error.

It follows talks between the BMA, NHS England and Capita over footing the bill for the additional work the mistake has created.

The BMA said, as a result of these talks, NHS England had offered funding - but this was ‘completely unacceptable’ and would not cover the cost of the work.

NHS England initially revealed Capita’s mistake in a letter sent to GP practices in May, according to the BMA.

The BMA said this assertion was based on a ‘sample from one area of the country’ and could be higher. However, Capita said only 130,000 patient records were affected.

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP Committee chair, said: ‘As we said when we first became aware of this issue in May, the job of assessing around 150,000 wrongly archived patient records will have a huge workload impact for practices that already under a huge amount of pressure – with some having thousands of records to process.

‘The BMA has spent the past two months liaising with NHS England and pressing them to ensure that it is Capita which foots the bill for the additional work caused by their mess, rather than hardworking GPs. Crucially, we have stressed that GPs and other practice staff are not taken away from providing direct patient care to deal with this error.’

He added: ‘However, NHS England’s most recent funding offer was completely unacceptable and would not cover the costs of the work required, and therefore we have rejected it. We have instructed our legal department to explore all avenues available to us and individual practices to ensure that GPs and their teams are not financially disadvantaged by this error of Capita’s making.’

A Capita spokesperson said: 'We have apologised to GPs affected by the delay in processing paper medical records. On average, GP practices had just 20 delayed records to review, and the vast majority – 98% – had fewer than 100 delayed records. There is no indication any patients were harmed as a result of this incident.'

Last year, Capita failed to deliver over 47,000 cervical cancer screening letters to patients – an issue it knew about two months before informing NHS England.

NHS England announced the cervical screening programme would be taken away from Capita in March.

In July, Capita revealed further errors in the cervical screening programme.

Readers' comments (4)

  • WHY ARE NHS ENGLAND "COVERING" FOR CAPITA? ARE THEY AFRAID OF THEM??
    IF A GP PRACTICE MAKES ANY MISTAKE, NHS ENGLAND COME DOWN ON THEM WITH A IRON FIST BUT CAPITA ARE FREE TO "MESS UP" AS THEY PLEASE WITH NO CONSEQUENCES.....WHY HAS THE "DAILY NUTTER" (A GOVERNMENT PUPPET) NOT REPORT ON THIS??

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  • Sorry but why are the BMA involved in an issue which involves an Operational error by an NHS provider affecting other organisations providing for the NHS . GP practices are organisations not people.

    The BMA does not represent the medical profession - I am not a member by choice dating back many years as many of their actions/ stances I have disagreed with I know many other doctors have done the same. The expenditure on a legal team here is a prime example of why I left .

    This is an NHS England issue and the union for some doctors have no right to be sticking their noses in and influencing. If this is a veiled attack on the Indelendant sector then The BMA should be reminded GPs are the largest independent sector supplier to the NHS

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  • @ Graeme Wilkes.
    Now that Capita have admitted the error have they offered compensation to GP practices to atone for it?
    The BMA DOES represent a lot of the medical profession. Of course there are other organisations and some choose not to be represented which is their choice.
    Are you suggesting we all roll over and do nothing?

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  • Dear All,
    Failing to deliver 47,000 cervical screening letters is an "availability breach" under GDPR. That scale of breach should be notifiable by the data controller (Capita) to the ICO. If they took 2 months to tell NHSE I wonder if they reported themselves to the ICO? if they failed to do that, that is in itself another breach.
    Regards
    Paul C

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