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No financial compensation for GPs affected by performers list delays

GPs who have been left unable to work for months due to delays in Capita’s performers list registration processes should not expect compensation for lost earnings, the Department of Health has said.

Citing NHS England guidance, health minister David Mowat said that it was ‘vital’ the process allowed time to check applicants had provided sufficient evidence.

He added that completing some applications properly can take ‘a number of months’ – though NHS England specifies GPs should allow 12 weeks to complete performers list registration.

It comes as Pulse revealed last month that GPs who have been waiting six months or more have approached the BMA to discuss claiming compensation for loss of earnings.

The delayed registration of qualified clinicians is the latest chapter in the disruption for GPs, dentists, opticians and pharmacists since Capita took on the contract for primary care support services in England.

In response to a written question regarding delays for dentists on joining the performers list – which NHS England confirmed to Pulse apply equally to GPs – Mr Mowat said: ‘NHS England’s standing guidance… does not include any expectation of, or provision for, compensation if an application takes more than 12 weeks.

‘The Performers List safeguards are important and are there for the protection of the public.

‘Therefore, it is vital that Primary Care Support England [Capita] and NHS England ensure each application provides the right evidence to enable it to be considered. For some applications it can take a number of months to properly complete these checks.’

The GPC has been calling for compensation for the disruption Capita have caused since May the the Government has told Capita to ‘consider’ it.

But Mr Mowat’s response does add that NHS England is ‘evaluating all consequences’ of the current delays in performers list applications.

Last year NHS England said that the major support services provided by Capita would be ‘returned to acceptable levels’ by April 2017.

NHS England and Capita both declined to comment.

Support services disruption

Practices have been contending with significant disruption to payments, pensions, supplies and patient notes since Capita began overhauling services in March last year.

At the end of last year, the GPC warned that the service was still a ‘chaotic mess’ but practices have yet to be compensated for the disruption and additional workload they have suffered.

In January, NHS England pledged that ‘significant improvements’ to general practice support services will be completed by April, as it seeks to return the services it outsourced last year to ‘acceptable’ levels.

But by then practices will have endured more than year of disruption, after Capita took over as NHS England’s national provider of primary care support in September 2015.

The move followed an NHS England cost-cutting drive where it slashed its £100m-a-year support services budget by 40% and has resulted in huge backlogs of patient records movement, delays registering new GPs and missed payments