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General practice to retain any savings made through Capita list cleansing drive

NHS England has committed to reinvest all the savings it makes from its controversial list cleansing drive back into general practice services.

Papers released for NHS England’s board meeting last week stated that is was commissioning the ‘list validation’ work to ’ensure that registered patient lists are up to date, thereby minimising the number of patients remaining on lists who have died or moved to another practice’.

It made the commitment after Pulse revealed last week that they had tasked Capita - the private company responsible for providing primary care support services - with contacting practices annually to identify any patients who haven’t had contact with the practice in the past five years.

Under the list cleansing drive, which sparked national media interest, Capita will send patients two letters before flagging them on the GPs system to be removed within six months if no contact was made.

It had led to fears around GPs’ workload, and to a reduction in the funding received by general practice.

However, NHS England have now said: ‘It is planned that any savings secured through the work will be subsequently and quickly reinvested into general practice services.’

Contracts and regulation subcommittee lead Dr Robert Morley told Pulse the announcement around reinvesting money back into primary care was ‘welcome’.

But, he added: ’The devil will be in the detail and it would only be acceptable if invested directly back into core GP services with no strings attached.

’Even then any ”list cleansing” processes must be carried out entirely within the regulations and the intention to remove patients who have not consulted within five years remains wholly unacceptable and ultra vires.’

The GPC passed a motion of ‘no confidence’ in Capita in the wake of Pulse’s story and widespread issues with its delivery of the new cost-cutting primary care support services contract.

The board papers gave the first details of many of the NHS England commitments pledged in the General Practice Forward view, including a £60m fund to cover indemnity increases.

Readers' comments (7)

  • So NHS England will give "us" the money they save from paying "us" for these ghost patients back to us.

    Obviously less the cost paid to Capita for doing the job and less the admin time we invest in the process.

    Does this make much sense to anyone?

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  • Agree with the above.

    It really does not mean practices will do less work, because practices that are less proactive in chasing patients who have not spoken to a GP in 5 years will lose funding to practices that are more proactive.

    We should be investing money in surgeries that are doing efficient clinical work, not doing efficient admin.

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  • Is thre an Equality issue in this new list-cleansing initiative?
    Disadvantaged and deprived patients - including those in multiple occupancy housing, illiterate or with a poor command of English - are most likely to be affected.
    In the early 1990s, we had patients removed for not responding to allegedly registered letters (no evidence letters sent could be produced by FHSA) - and re-registration at the same address refused *because of the previous removal* (These were patients seen regularly, very well organised, permanent addresses).
    If Capita cannot even organise the collection and distribution of medical records, will they be acting like DWP assessors - given a target for list removals and performance managed on hitting the their targets?

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  • If Crapita can't get their house in order with the normal work of shifting records from A to B, should we really be asking them to handle more confidential data and risk further instability?

    For the avoidance of doubt, that question is rhetorical.

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  • So they save money to pay back the practices? What a load of nonsense.

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  • Vinci Ho

    My argument from day 1 : trust and credibility as far as Capita is concerned . Full stop even though it is righteously and solely about patients who had died or moved to another practice.
    Redemption is the word NHSE needs to learn these days ....

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  • Presumably most of it will be lost in the administration and rolled into a LES to do more work for less money.

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