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NHS to withhold report on primary care support problems until 2017

Exclusive NHS England will wait more than a year before it publishes its report of serious and significant events recorded for primary care support services since Capita took over.

Pulse has learned that NHS England intends to publish an annual round-up of the problems raised by practices, but the first publication – due July 2016 – will only cover issues reported by 31 March this year.

This will not include the details around the piles of uncollected patient notes and dwindling stocks of essential clinical supplies, which have happened since the new national system went live at the start of April.

LMC leaders are also reporting that GPs have 'given up' on flagging concerns because they are fatigued with the number of problems they have to document.

GP leaders have labelled NHS England’s decision a ‘bloody disgrace’, adding that Capita is operating under different standards to practices that are required to regularly audit and learn from significant events.

Capita has previously said about the problems: 'NHS England asked Capita to transform what was a locally agreed, fragmented primary care support service, to a national standardised system. Our focus has always been to ensure we achieve an efficient, effective and modern service, that reduces the administrative burden on primary care staff.

’It is inevitable that with such significant structure change there will be initial challenges. However, we have been, and are continuing to, work closely with NHS England to ensure the service is delivered at an optimal level.’

Pulse submitted a Freedom of Information request to NHS England – as it is responsible for commissioning the services – asking for details around the number and nature of serious and significant events to be made public.

But NHS England told Pulse: ‘We plan to publish the data requested in this FOI request on an annual basis via the Capita PCSE (Primary Care Support England) web site.

'The details of the preceding financial year will be published by 31 July the following year. So by 31 July 2016 we will publish details of incidents reported in the year to 31 March 2016.’

The report in July will include details around the ‘significant unpredictable disruption’ before Capita’s tenure and in the early stages of the contract.

But this was largely due to the previous patchwork of support service contracts ending, and in many cases – such as missing enhanced service payments in East Anglia – Capita had not changed systems from those it inherited.

Dr Robert Morley, chair of the GPC contracts and regulation subcommittee, said GPs have a duty of candour to report incidents ‘as soon as reasonably practical’.

But he added: ‘NHS England is burying its head in the sand over the problems caused by its awarding of this contract; it must be held fully to account over the consequences.’

He said: ‘This is an absolute bloody disgrace. Clearly it would appear that NHS England, as a commissioner, and Capita as its agent providing vital primary care support services, can operate under entirely different standards than those providing NHS care at the coalface.'

Dr Morley said GP practices are ‘under siege’ by the regulatory requirements, including significant event reporting, duty of candour requirements, and scrutiny from NHS England, CCGs, the CQC and more.

A recent update from Cambridgeshire LMC warned that GPs were so fatigued by continuing issues many had stopped flagging concerns and could be ‘culpable’ if something unreported caused patient harm.

NHS England declined to comment further, Capita said it was not their role to comment on complaints reporting.

The problems with support services

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Money coins 2700x1800px 1

NHS England opted to save £40 million a year from its support services budget and tendered for a single national provider for Primary Care Support England (PCSE).

The winner, Capita, has centralised support services to three national hubs and implemented a single online ‘portal’ for practices to order supplies and ‘track’ the movement of patient records.

Pulse has documented issues, from FP10 shortages, to patient notes turning up in a carpark, that have spiked since April’s overhaul and GP leaders have been urging practices to report every issue to NHS England.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul wrote to NHS England demanding practices be compensated for the ‘systematic failure’ of PCSE, and indemnified against any claims as a result of support service issues.

The timetable by Primary Care Support England - the arm of Capita that manages the services - shows that new services for payments, screenings and performers list will be implemented from April 2017.

Read more here


Readers' comments (10)

  • Surely this is not a surprise. Efforts need to be made to get inside NHSE - they are ideologically obsessed with the destruction of primary care - why are they filled with so much hate?

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  • Always best to "hide the truth from the general public" in case they start asking awkward questions.
    Are we living in a "banana republic" or a modern European country??

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  • So if it was " inevitable, that with such significant structure change there will be initial challenges" - how much extra money did they set aside for this and where is that represented in their bid for this contract? It clearly wasn't enough so whose fault is that? Is it NHSE and if so and which civil servant allowed their bid to go forward and is he/she being held accountable? If Capita misled or underestimated what sort of penalties are they subject to? Again and again GPs are made to suffer because of expediency or downright incompetence.

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  • Patients data protection confidentiality assurity all these words do not address the chaos we are now in. We recognise change will give rise to challenge but on cost cutting the budget and dismantaling a very esteblaished service will lead to disarray! We are also potential patients and if I moved knowing the current system I would be very concerned of where my records ended up! When we asked have Sprint courier drivers had training in data protection we were told oh yes they have a CRB check. What has that got to do with protecting, recording and safe delivery of confidential information! As a practice we have been passed to 3 different centres on who we work with on record transfer from Leeds to Preston to Clacton. If we could have a wish it would be bring back our local registration team start again wiht them and sort it out but too late horse bolted give up!

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  • Dear All,
    Well if the intention was to "that reduces the administrative burden on primary care staff." then NHSE failed in their negotiation, because the intention that our staff individually label and bag each record is a massive shift of admin burden into practices.
    Paul C

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  • In addition the new system doesn't interact with Exeter to send a 'record received' flag, so these must all be checked on the portal and then manually added to the patient record to confirm the record we sent has successfully arrived. YET MORE MANUAL WORK.

    We told them it would be a mess. Its a mess.

    Just another nail in the coffin.

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  • @|Anonymous | Practice Manager|23 Jun 2016 1:12pm

    'Just another nail in the coffin.'

    Hahahaha more like a symphony of nail guns hammering away on a giant NHS-shaped coffin. Cameron being the conductor.

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  • The notes belong to the Sec State for Health, each page of the old paper ones says so.

    If he leaves them cluttering up your office, take them to Richmond House - his business address - and drop them off in the foyer for him.

    In case it is inconvenient for someone to give you a receipt, video the deposit.

    It is a question of who has the problem. Change that, and you change the solution.

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  • PS. I'm something of a photographer, let me know and I'll happen to be there.

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  • patients notes in mental health services moved for storage.These notes are often lost or inaccessible for clinics etc.
    The storage of notes is a mess haphazard and lacks accountability.
    I have seen large boxes unsealed notes taken to the storage depot.
    No official document is signed nor recorded as a receipt .
    When notes are requested nobody seems accountable as to what happens when they go missing .The system is in chaos generally and to work competently with the required information is nigh impossible .

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