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Independents' Day

Practices missing payments as support service woes continue

Exclusive GP practices are missing thousands in payments following the outsourcing of a national primary care support service, Pulse can reveal.

Payments missing in some areas of England include those for enhanced services and seniority payments, as practices continue to suffer fallout in the handover.

The news comes as NHS England’s rescue package for general practice, unveiled last week, pledged a crackdown on the long-running payment chaos suffered by practices.

But woes continue to plague practices, with Norfolk LMC reporting that all GMS practices have missed out on their enhanced service payments that were due in mid-April.

Dr Ian Hume, medical secretary for Norfolk and Waveney LMC and chair of the GPC’s practice finance subcommittee, told Pulse that the problems were related to the handover from the local support service to Primary Care Support England (PCSE) - the new national services run by outsourcing firm Capita.

He said: ’There have been some issues with the transfer over from Serco to Capita, which is very similar to what is happening elsewhere.

’We’re going from a system where everyone knows how it works, where there had been good personal relationships between staff locally, who have suddenly now gone and there’s a lack of clarity on what is going on nationally, and what the new process is.’

He added that NHS England had apologised and said it would ‘cover costs incurred by practices’ as a result of the non-payment.

He said: ‘[NHS England’s] local area team is working constructively with us, and it’s apologetic.’

In West Yorkshire, practices are missing seniority payments. Janet Hallam, practice manager at The Student Health Centre in Huddersfield, told Pulse that they were ’struggling to make contact in regard to pensions at the moment’.

She said: ’The practice has seniority monies outstanding and we are now having to chase PCSE in this regard.’

In the East of England region, GP practices received an email from the regional NHS England team, seen by Pulse, which said: ‘It has been drawn to our attention that some practices have significant payments missing on the mid-April payment run.’

An East Anglia practice manager who wished to remain anonymous said the delay of ’£8-9,000 in mid-monthly payments’ was ‘a significant kick in the teeth’ for practices ’on the brink of financial meltdown’.

A Capita spokesperson told Pulse that, though payments were now part of their responsibility as PCSE supplier, they had not adjusted payment systems they had inherited and NHS England was still responsible.

Andrew Pike, director of commissioning operations for NHS England East said: ’NHS England would like to apologise sincerely for this omission. This has been an oversight in the handover between our previous provider of patient contractor services provider (Serco) and the new provider (Capita) of a locally negotiated payment mechanism.

‘NHS England is sorry for the inconvenience this will cause practices and will reimburse any bank charges or late payment charges incurred due to this incident.’

NHS England had not responded on payment problems in West Yorkshire at time of publication.

Change worsens payment problems

NHS England’s bid to cut 40% of its £100m annual support services budget saw Capita emerge as the new national provider behind PCSE, with a plan to centralise local offices to three specialised national hubs.

But in recent weeks Pulse has revealed that practices are missing vital supplies including FP10 prescription forms, and blood vials, after significant problems accessing and ordering from Capita’s new supply management portal.

There were also concern that patients could be harmed by significant delays to the collection and delivery of patient notes, particularly in practices with high rates of patients leaving and joining.

Readers' comments (11)

  • NHS England should reimburse all costs incurred by the practice as a result of late payment and I would add an additional charge of 2% over base rate for the late payment

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  • NHSE is showing hypocritic concern and when a problem has been raised with Exeter statements showing Total payment units for Practice to be 4700 and last year 4900, this has been disregarded for one Practice in Kent and the PCA in Kent has not been able to explain why they are paying the Practice for only 3600 patients last year and only 3400 this year.
    There is a complete cover up with GP not allowed to access HSCIC Helpdesk and PCA having lied once that they raised concern. There is further refusal to give a copy of a 'repeat' call they logged when pressed by HSCIC and myself so one could see that the right issues raised by Practice have been flagged up.
    The response to this 'repeat' log from HSCIC was inadequate as it said ' Our software is working properly. So what was the call logged about- the issues raised by Practice or asking them about software function.
    This gives credibility to what the Exeter helpdesk had said last year that data of my Practice was being manipulated at the local PCA level.
    Total payments payable to Practice were mentioned as 4900 on Open Exeter statements last April and went down to 4700 this year as the list size fell by 10 patient in April this year. This in itself proves that payments are being calculated and should be paid.
    What I can't understand is the reluctance of Kent PCA ( now Capita) to clarify and make available to the Practice a plausible explanation and a copy of the call they logged with HSCIC getting an inadequate response.
    HSCIC claiming they cannot talk to a GP Practice or take up concerns from a Provider directly. Like the old time, ask NHSE the time and they say 'JH was cool wasn't he?'

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  • Welcome to my world of Kent and Medway...I could compare this with Hillsborough the Hillsborough cover up considering repercussions for Practices.
    My patient's always ask me whether the government considers that they don't pay equal taxes or are they in a deprived area and rich areas are eligible for payments. Like the one in posh Esplanade in Rochester with 1400 patients which has been paid for 1600 patients annually? 10 patients less as compared to last April and list is weighted down by 200 patients - no Carr Hill Formula will do that or 15 patients leaving and weighted list reduced by 71 patients.
    Why won't anybody look into concerns and given evidence of reason for disregarding Exeter statement data.

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  • NHSE is the 'hitman' for the DoH...NHSE is a department of bimbo's and bearuocrats paid to crash the order to create a wreckage that can be sold off it parts!

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  • My belief is that blaming NHSE for poor output is analogous to blaming GPs for not having enough appointments. It is all due to Government cuts.

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  • It costs very little to take out a summons in the Small Claims Court for failure to pay.

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  • We got IOUs.
    I know where I'd like to stick them.

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  • Vinci Ho

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  • Having seen this transition and Capita's approach, I am surprised by the number of complaints and issues. Not how many, but how few. Email and service call centres not working. Real information handling concerns. Payments not made or wrong. A shambles of which NHSENGLAND has no reason to be proud. Previous commentators compare this to Hillsborough. I find that insulting.

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