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NHS England: Hundreds of GP practices missed out on payments due to Capita



Hundreds of GP practices did not receive payments on time in the first seven months after Capita took over primary care support services, NHS England has said.

An official incident report from NHS England, covering the period from September 2015 to March 2016, also listed issues with patients receiving incorrect test results and patient data being sent to the wrong GP practice.

This is the first time NHS England has published a comprehensive list of things going wrong since Capita took on the contract, but notably does not include the period since April this year when a majority of the problems began.

Incidents reported by Capita up until that point included:

  • 279 practices ‘did not receive dispensing/prescribing payments on expected date’ (the report says this was rectified ‘as quickly as possible’;
  • A patient received ‘correct and incorrect screening results at the same time’ due to a system error (the report says this did not impact on patient treatment);
  • Patient identifiable data mistakenly emailed to an incorrect GP practice (this was investigated and an apology issued);
  • There was an alleged theft of ‘secure stationery’ which could include FP10 prescription pads by a courier;
  • 2,400 duplicate screening invitations were sent out;
  • A ‘telephone outage’ meant customer support was unavailable in the middle of a pilot of new services;
  • Capita staff ‘wrongly advised’ a doctor that they required evidence of Level 3 Child Protection qualification to continue practising.
  • Performer’s list information was ‘temporarily misplaced’;
  • Capita staff ‘wrongly advised’ a doctor that they required evidence of Level 3 Child Protection qualification to continue practising.

Capita took over as the national provider of primary care support services in England in September 2015, after NHS England slashed its £100m annual budget by 40%.

Around 40 local offices had previously delivered support services and the report ‘includes some incidents which occurred under those legacy arrangements’, NHS England said.

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘It’s no secret that there have been problems relating to the Capita contract.

‘The incidents reported here have all been investigated and resolved and we are confident that safeguards have been put in place to prevent them happening again.’

A Capita spokesperson said: ‘As NHS England acknowledges, we have protocols in place for reporting and reviewing incidents and, as the report demonstrates, where appropriate we take immediate steps to rectify any incidents and put in place enhanced controls to prevent re-occurrence.’

The news comes as just one fifth of GPs are satisfied with their experience of primary care support since it was outsourced, having suffered months of nationwide disruption to record movement, supplies and payments.

As previously reported, 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 April.

Primary care support services disruption

GP practices have been experiencing significant disruption since the contract was first awarded to Capita, replacing a range of local services.

Most major changes came in from April this year, with the handover resulting in GP practices being left without prescription pads and building up huge stockpiles of uncollected patient notes.

Capita has taken measures to improve collections but practices are still dealing with the fallout from the initial backlog, which Pulse has revealed was down to a major underestimation of the work entailed when NHS England awarded the contract. Other issues have included GP payments and registration to the performers list.

Practices have consistently reported that the lack of responsiveness from Capita helplines has compounded these issues.

GPC has condemned the ’systematic failure’ of Capita’s overhaul of services including the movement of patients’ records, ordering of clinical supplies, and the management of pensions, payments and the performers list.