NHS England has committed to reinvest all the savings it makes from its controversial list cleansing drive back into general practice services.
Papers released for NHS England’s board meeting last week stated that is was commissioning the ‘list validation’ work to ’ensure that registered patient lists are up to date, thereby minimising the number of patients remaining on lists who have died or moved to another practice’.
It made the commitment after Pulse revealed last week that they had tasked Capita – the private company responsible for providing primary care support services – with contacting practices annually to identify any patients who haven’t had contact with the practice in the past five years.
Under the list cleansing drive, which sparked national media interest, Capita will send patients two letters before flagging them on the GPs system to be removed within six months if no contact was made.
It had led to fears around GPs’ workload, and to a reduction in the funding received by general practice.
However, NHS England have now said: ‘It is planned that any savings secured through the work will be subsequently and quickly reinvested into general practice services.’
Contracts and regulation subcommittee lead Dr Robert Morley told Pulse the announcement around reinvesting money back into primary care was ‘welcome’.
But, he added: ’The devil will be in the detail and it would only be acceptable if invested directly back into core GP services with no strings attached.
’Even then any ”list cleansing” processes must be carried out entirely within the regulations and the intention to remove patients who have not consulted within five years remains wholly unacceptable and ultra vires.’
The GPC passed a motion of ‘no confidence’ in Capita in the wake of Pulse’s story and widespread issues with its delivery of the new cost-cutting primary care support services contract.