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GPs call for Simon Stevens ‘to be held to account’ over Capita

GP leaders have called for NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens to be made directly accountable for his organisation’s failed contract with Capita for delivering support services.

Delegates at the LMCs Conference 2017 in Edinburgh today rejected calls to strip Capita of its contract and hand it back to an NHS provider.

LMC leaders argued that it was NHS England who had awarded and failed to manage the current contract, and there should be a full review of the tendering process that saw it outsourced to Capita.

Instead, GPC member Dr Fay Wilson told delegates they should quit ‘talking to the monkey and send a message to the organ grinder’. 

LMC leaders voted overwhelmingly that the GPC should make a point of laying the failings of Capita’s Primary Care Support England service at Simon Stevens’ door.

The contract, which covers services ranging from delivering medical records and prescription pads, to administering GP payments, was awarded to Capita in 2015 as part of a cost-cutting drive.

And while NHS England has managed to successfully reduce its spend on support services in this way, the fallout of the service’s failings has been borne by primary care and so far remain uncompensated.

LMC leaders supported the GPC’s position to call for compensation for financial losses practices have had to bear as a result.

They also called for a GPC public awareness campaign highlighting the failure of the contract.

But Dr Wilson said: ‘We should be outraged, not that Capita has been incompetent, but that NHS England doesn’t care, can’t be bothered or is frightened to do its duty.

’The head of NHS England should be held to account for this stunning failure and we should be saying so. Come on conference, let’s escalate this to the organ grinder, and not keep talking to the monkey.’

Speaking from Dorset LMC Dr Sarah Kay said that at a meeting of their local trainees two weeks ago GPs in training said they were being left out of pocket for months. 
She said: ‘I was dismayed to hear of numerous instances of reimbursements that are still overdue from August 2016.’ 

This included hundreds of pounds in indemnity and travel expenses, she added.

David Gibbs of Derby and Derbyshire LMCs said that his organisation had resorted to writing to Capita’s major shareholders directly, and insisting that they applied pressure to make improvements.

He highlighted that it was NHS England who had failed to take control of the contract it had awarded and that calls to hand support services back to it could result in the same problems.

A Capita spokesperson said: ’We are in the early stages of this complex and challenging NHS England initiative to modernise and standardise primary care administration, which will deliver ongoing savings of £40m every year, all of which can be put back into frontline care.

’We are making strong and consistent progress with the transformation of these services and have already introduced a range of improvements, including a more secure medical records movement process and a new online supplies ordering system, which will deliver significant cost savings.’

Motion passed in full

’That this conference:

Demands that GPs are compensated appropriately for any financial losses and extra work done by primary care, due to its incompetence

Demands that NHSE take urgent action to resolve any outstanding payment issues relating to LMCs

Is dismayed by the inability of PCSE to produce an accurate performers list

Believes the public needs to be fully informed about the financial damage to the taxpayer and the risk to the medical profession, and demands that the Head of NHS England be held to account for the continued failure of the commissioned service.’