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Capita GP support services improving, claims NHS England

GP support services that were outsourced to private company Capita in a cost-cutting exercise are now at acceptable levels after a year of disruption for practices, NHS England has told Pulse.

Pulse has reported extensively over the past year that GPs had been severely disrupted since Capita overhauled primary care support services in April 2016, with records going missing, GPs unable to work because they hadn’t been put on the performers list, and payments going missing.

NHS England claims that it has been ‘encouraged’ with the progress made by Capita in implementing a recovery plan, which the two parties agreed and was announced at NHS England’s February board meeting.

But GP leaders have said that claims that support services are improving are ‘utter garbage’ , with services remaining well below acceptable levels.

NHS England promised in February this year that it has agreed an improvement plan with Capita around GP ’customer support services, medical records and patient registration’, while work was under way to ‘to improve recovery of the performers list’.It said it expected ‘recovery’ of these services by March.

This came after Pulse reported a series of problems with Capita’s services, including:

An NHS England spokesperson told Pulse this week: ‘Following our work with Capita, to ensure that urgent and immediate improvements were made to primary care support service, we are encouraged by the progress that has been made.

‘Capita are executing the agreed recovery plans and we continue to work closely to ensure the completion of these.’

But GP leaders disputed this claim, saying that there are still problems.    

Dr Ian Hume,the BMA GP Committee’s lead on the Capita issue, said: ’In response to sustained pressure and lobbying from GPC, long overdue improvements are at last being made in some areas. However, services are still far from being back to a fully acceptable level and there remain unacceptable problems affecting locums pension arrangements and in some parts of the country, the operation of the performers list. We are continuing to place pressure on NHS England to resolve these issues.’

He added that future changes, such as another update to the way records are transported due later this year will now be rolled out region-by-region, rather than national launch that was intended for last year. This will allow their impact to be monitored and may even help ‘resolve some of the problems practices have seen with missing records’.

Birmingham LMC executive secretary Dr Bob Morley - who is also the GPC’s contracts and regulations spokesperson -  told Pulse in the West Midlands there were still major problems. He said: ‘The pledge from NHS England that things would be on an even keel by April has predictably turned out to be utter garbage. Our practices are reporting as many problems as before, across the entire range of primary care support services.’

He added: ‘This contract should never have been awarded in the first place. There’s no doubt that NHS England was negligent when it awarded this contract, it didn’t do its due diligence.’

‘Why is there no plan B and why have no heads rolled in NHS England from people who awarded this contract?’

One practice manager in Essex told Pulse: ‘The service is still poor, I’ve got records outstanding from January that still have not arrived.’

A Capita spokesperson told Pulse: ‘PCSE continues to make good progress across all service lines as acknowledged by NHS England, and we are confident that the plans we have put in place will help ensure that all services are delivered according to expectations.’

Readers' comments (8)

  • What a load of @*** from NHS England as usual. Capita should be sacked as a company. They are utterly incompetent. Why are the NHS continuing to use them as a company??!!! They are clearly totally focused on profit and have employed too few staff who are seem to be teenagers without a clue what they're doing. They should be forced to improve by targets and if those are not met then payment withheld. But I hear headlines in news of record payments to Capita. The problem is NHS England are too tolerant of these low standards, how is this accceptable?? The BMA are doing their best am sure but without the powers that be getting tough they have no hope of changing things.

    This is part of the whole problem of part privatisation of the NHS as these companies have no motivation to provide high standards as they negotiate fat cat contracts that sees them get paid anyway. In a fully private system they would lose their contract if they didn't perform. In a fully nationalised system 'Julie' at the PCT knew everything there was to know and she was bloody good at her job. You could phone and actually speak to her and get a coherent response. I really doubt this is costing the NHS any less than the older systems. The middle ground is no good.

    I sent a complaint email previously and received a response, wait for it, 7 months later. I'm still owed £3k rebate from 2015/16 pension year....what a bunch of jokers.

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  • I have had very similar experiences to "Crapita!!" above, excpet that I never received a reply to my complaint, which I made using the official online contact form. I totally agree with everything Crapita writes above.

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  • Absolutely not satisfactory at all. It has taken 10 months to change Performers list and this required the submission of the same forms ELEVEN times to EIGHT different people. The practice manager spent days on the phone to them. Absolutely they are not fit to do the job.

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  • Just doesn't stack up?

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  • Dear Government,
    No they are not.
    From everyone

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  • NHSE is the mercenary but for some dirty work they use Crapita so as not to dirty their hands. It's chumpolitics sucked with mother's milk by parasites now turned blood suckers having infiltrated DoH and NHSE. Of course, they will praise Crapita for 'improving'. BTW, to improve you have to be sub-standard first and not a sh***head.

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  • Pheww! That's a relief!!

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    Crapita has moved the goalposts so far that soon the previous well run service will be a distant memory.

    This is how you destroy the NHS piece by piece, and run down services.

    Soon people will forget it was not always private and be forced to swallow the service as it is too expensive to renationalise all the services being commissioned off to the lowest bidder, regardless of quality and ability to deliver.

    They are making a profit by running a poorly staffed and trained service, who are not performing the service they were paid to do.

    They should be fined and forced to hire more staff, and up-skill those who are present, and run at a loss, until the service runs smoothly.

    Then if performing well, can cream off the excess money as profit, once fit for purpose.

    Sadly they promised to do the task knowing full well they had no track record or ability to perform the contracted service, and primary care suffers.

    Where is the accountability? Who has been sacked for hiring these cowboys? Why hs the contract not been revoked and handed back to the NHS with a fine for poor performance?

    Where is JH these days? Laughing at the mess created as GPs and primary care suffer, and wilt.

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