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GPs go forth

MPs order NHS England to show how GPs have been compensated for Capita failure

NHS England has been ordered by influential MPs to show how it has compensated GPs for the botched outsourcing of primary care support services.

NHS England’s choice to contract with Capita in 2015 received stark criticism from the Public Accounts Committee in a report published today.

It said 'NHS England’s outsourcing strategy led to a short-sighted rush to achieve savings, heedless of the impact on patients or practitioners'.

This follows the National Audit Office's findings in May that the outsourcing 'potentially compromised patient safety'.

Capita has since admitted that it regrets having taken on the unprofitable contract, without fully understanding the risks of the specification.

The report from the PAC’s inquiry also concluded that:

  • failure to deliver services led to 'disruptions and extra costs' for GPs as well as dentists, pharmacists and opticians;
  • a 'lack of collaboration' between NHS England and Capita resulted in them taking too long to resolve issues; and
  • service failures following the outsourcing put patients at risk of serious harm.

It said that 'NHS England is currently assessing an incident to identify whether there has been actual patient harm'.

To date there was evidence that, 'delays in moving medical records impacted patients' ability to access necessary care' and '87 women were incorrectly notified that they were no longer part of the cervical screening programme'.

The PAC ordered NHS England to inform the committee by January next year 'whether there is evidence of any harm to patients'.

Also by January 2019, it should write to the PAC 'setting out what they have done to compensate primary care practitioners for the disruption to the service'.

More widely, the PAC recommended NHS England 'must ensure' that outsourcing contracts have mechanisms to intervene if the contract does 'not go as planned'. 

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'It is only right that the Public Accounts Committee be so damning in its assessment of Capita’s running of the PCSE contract. The programme has been run woefully and negatively impacted patients, services and GPs.

'GPs experienced two years of chaos as a result of this contract. It’s clear that Capita were incentivised by the contract awarded by NHS England to close support offices and cut staff as quickly as possible regardless of the problems that were quickly developing. Prioritising money over services has been very damaging for general practice.'

'The BMA repeatedly pressured NHS England to urgently address the problems with PCSE delivery, and now that the NAO and now PAC have so clearly backed our concerns, we hope this assessment of its failures will finally make NHS England and government sit up, listen and learn from past mistakes. The recommendations of this report are useful, and we look forward to hearing the responses from NHS England and Capita.'

Readers' comments (6)

  • Dear All,
    "Capita has since admitted that it regrets having taken on the unprofitable contract, without fully understanding the risks of the specification."

    and these are outsourcing management consultants?

    urological elevations and fermentation factories spring to mind.

    what an utter indictment of HMG and NHSE's policies.

    Take the work away from the guys who've been doing it for years and give the contract to a bunch of idiots in suits who don't understand what they are doing.
    Paul Cundy
    GMC 2582641

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  • NHSE will never show anything to anyone - transparency and honest dealing is alien to them.
    You can get a lucrative APMS even today without a tender although another APMS Provider may have been given a basic GMS rate under the pretext that no tender has been done. Example of St Mary's Island Surgery in Medway- contract given a few months ago to Dulwich Medical Centre.
    (£145 per patient, £5k interim payments per month plus unspecified payments for various add ons - No tender, GPs informed in Meeting that Contract is for 3 months; FOI request reveals given contract for 13 months. Medway GPs are easily taken for a ride:)

    Under FOI request - NHSE, NHS Digital, Open Exeter and PCSE have all denied holding information printed on our monthly Open Exeter statements.

    The information sought was:

    '' - How many Practices in Medway have Total Payment Units ( calculated in Fringe/Additional details and displayed on the Statement) higher than their weighted list size.
    - How many Practice are paid these and how many and which Practices are not paid these but paid only the weighted list size.''
    I wonder whether ICO would be helpful but gradually losing faith in the system.

    If something is on your monthly statements and those who collate data and make your payments, do not know about this - then there is something grossly wrong. Especially if you consider that in a lot of cases, the payments printed on the Pulse last year were a lot higher than would be expected from their list sizes.
    Welcome to anarchic NHS.

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  • This goes back to what I have said before. Who comprises NHS England? In my experience they are overpaid graduates in anything other than medicine. I had stupidly thought that they comprised of the most senior, experienced and brightest of us doctors.

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  • yes exactly, who is running the show? the corruption and cloak in dagger thing has been going on for yonks but its the same in all industries (banking, politics, law) its just that in healthcare it is thought that it should be fair and transparent especially as a government agency. unfortunately no one cares apart from the docs on the shop floor.

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  • Three words, "they have not". I doubt any GP in the country received any compensation for the fiasco NHSE caused.

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  • It took me 7 years of drilling - chasing a 186k given by builders under Article 106 to support Surgeries in our locality. Finally I was able to get this- not just 186k but a £1 million pot - identified by the help of the local MP as unused money for our area- from NHSE to CCG.
    Today - almost 8 months later, the CCG after an initial acknowledgment at the time in a Locality meeting, has gone silent and as far as I know, not a penny has been given to GPs in the area.
    Mind you, they have confessed in the past to ICO that they have done 'informal consultations with a few Practices' about money from Developers - way back in 2011 so it is difficult to say whether some 'friendly' Practices have not benefited.
    And CCG boss is a GP.

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