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Capita mistakenly flags up to 15% of practice patients for removal

Exclusive GP practices in one area have had hundreds of patients flagged for removal after primary care support provider Capita mistakenly launched a major list cleansing exercise.

LMC representatives for West Sussex claimed individual practices had up to 15% of patients flagged for removal via the FP69 process at the beginning of this month. 

NHS England said Capita had mistakenly launched a process to check up on patients from overseas are still resident one year after they moved to England and registered with a GP.

This is one of NHS England’s list inflation controls that it has subcontracted to Capita but it is not supposed to have started yet, remaining subject to negotiation with the GPC.

Capita admitted that the patients were flagged in error but said it was rectified swiftly and had led to ‘no impact’ on patient care.

The FP69 process leaves GP practices six months to confirm the patients’ registration before they are taken off the list and associated funding ceases.

An NHS England spokesperson said of the patients flagged: ‘They were identified as part of transient checks. These are patients who when registering with the NHS stated they had recently arrived from abroad. The checks usually take place approximately one-two years after initial registration, in line with NHS England policy.’

It comes as Pulse revealed last week that Capita’s contract with NHS England to provide primary care support includes a range of list cleansing mechanisms, including writing to all patients who have not had any contact with their GP practice in five years

However, Capita and NHS England have not set a date for this to start and the GPC, which recently issued a vote of no confidence in Capita, said GPs must be involved in developing the scheme before it is implemented.

The FP69 process is supposed to be the final stage of a list cleansing drive, with Capita required to send out two letters and receive no response before giving practices six months to confirm them as a registered patient. Capita refused to tell Pulse how many letters had been sent in this instance.

Surrey and Sussex LMCs told Pulse that early audits from practices showed many of these patients had been in contact with their practice in recent months, and the number of patients flagged ranged from 3% of lists to 15%.

Surrey and Sussex LMCs medical director Dr Richard Brown told Pulse that a ‘substantial number’ of patients had been flagged in the region, and said practices were affected across the three West Sussex CCGs.

He added: ‘Though I haven’t got exact figures, the range is quite significant, it might range from two or three percent of a practice’s list, or in one case I know of, as much as 15% of the practice list.’

He told Pulse that NHS England’s regional team had now accepted ‘the FP69 flags were raised in error, and have been removed from the Open Exeter system so will remain registered with their practices’.

Dr Jeremy Luke, a GP in Crawley and chair of the West Sussex Medical Committee, told Pulse that around 3% of his practice’s patient list had been flagged for removal.

He said Capita had tried to contact patients via letter but did not know how many letters had been sent.

He said: ‘In West Sussex all practices have had huge numbers of patients on the deduction list (FP69). These are “no reply” to letters.

‘My practice of 10,550 patients has over 270 deductions.’

A spokesperson for Capita said: ‘While we acknowledge an error occurred, it was rectified quickly and it is important to recognise that there has been no impact to the delivery of patient care.’

Issues prevail as overhaul of primary care support services continues

Pulse has reported extensively on the problems faced by practices since Capita started implementing its new schemes from April.

Capita took on a £330m seven-year contract for running of primary care support services last September, which has meant a centralisation of support services including management of GP practice payments, medical records and national cervical and breast cancer screenings.

The BMA, which last month passed a vote of no confidence in the new provider, has said practices had been left without deliveries of basic clinical supplies and had accumulated piles of patients’ notes – with some practices saying they waited four weeks for a collection.

The GPC also said that practices reported patient notes going missing, while the Information Commissioner’s Office is enquiring about information governance breaches.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul wrote to NHS England in June demanding that GPs be compensated for the ‘systematic failure’ of support services, and indemnified against any serious incidents that may have arisen.