Capita will have to remove patients who have moved away off GP lists more quickly, after the BMA successfully challenged part of NHS England’s primary care support contract with the company.
The BMA challenged a part of Capita’s contract with NHS England, which wrongly stated that patients should be removed from the registered list 30 days after they register with another practice or tell their current practice that they are moving away.
The BMA said NHS England had conflated two GMS regulations in the PCSE contract with Capita, which handles all patient removals.
Dr Robert Morley, contracts and regulations lead for the BMA’s GP Committee said: ‘The regulations state they must then be removed from the list when the patient registers with another practice or on the eighth day after notification, whichever is sooner.
He added that a different regulation states that ‘if the commissioner becomes aware that the patient has moved out of the practice area – but the practice has not requested removal – they are to be removed after 30 days, unless the practice agrees to keep them on’.
But Dr Morely said that NHS England ‘completely misinterpreted and conflated these regulations’.
Instead, writing into the PCSE contract that if the practice requests removal of a patient registered out of area the removal is to take place after 30 days, ‘as opposed to eight days under the correct interpretation of the regulations’.
Dr Morley said that if a patient remains on the list, the practice ‘might get a request for a visit and have to deal with the hassle and issues which arise from refusal’.
He said: ‘There might also be issues if the patient needs any district nursing or community services commissioned on the basis of GP registration rather than geography and end up not being able to access the care they need, again with the GP having to pick up the pieces.’
He added that practices would only lose funding ‘if the patient stayed on their list until the first day of the next quarter’ and therefore would not affect the majority of practices.
Capita bosses suggested the company regrets taking on the contract which has been riddled with problems, including issues with moving medical records between practices as well as delayed processing of updates to the National Performers List.
NHS England said they are aware of the issue and are reviewing that aspect of the PCSE contract.
Capita declined to comment.