This site is intended for health professionals only


GP satisfaction with Capita plunges to 21%, official survey shows



Only one-fifth (21%) of GPs are satisfied with the primary care support service provided by Capita, according to the company’s own survey.

This is a drop from 63% satisfaction with support services in November last year, after Capita took on the contract from a host of local providers, but before they took on vital services such as clinical supplies and the movement of patient records.

Capita, which received over 1,000 responses from GP practices, found that these had by far the lowest average satisfaction score of all primary care providers, rating the service at less than three out of 10 (2.91), based on a scale from extremely dissatisfied (1) to extremely satisfied (10).

The six-monthly survey, which Capita has to carry out under its contract with NHS England, showed that across primary care on the whole – also including pharmacists, optometrists and dentists – some 42% are satisfied, down from 69% in November.

Capita took on the contract in September last year following an NHS England decision to tender a national contract aimed at saving 40% of the £100m-per-year cost.

GP leaders, who had urged practices to give their honest feedback on the transition, said the result of the survey was unsurprising.

On a positive note, two-thirds of all primary care providers said they were now clear what services PCSE were contracted to provide and how they can get in contact. But around two-thirds also disagreed with the statements that services were delivered on time and were reliable, and were dissatisfied with the efficiency of handling issues or enquiries.

Capita declined to provide Pulse with the full results of the survey but said these had been discussed at a stakeholder meeting with the BMA.

The company said it had expected satisfaction levels to dip during the time of transition, but that these scores were lower than anticipated, with GPs and optometrists especially dissatisfied.

A Capita spokesperson said: ‘The results are a clear reflection of the service during a period of large-scale service transition and change and given the pace and scale of this transformation during the survey period we would expect satisfaction levels to dip. However, we do recognise that these levels are lower than we expect.’

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse that ‘in many ways it’s a surprise that they actually even got that level of satisfaction’.

He said: ‘Practices on a daily basis are having problems with the PCSE service and it’s impacting on many functions that practices depend on and it’s completely unacceptable that it’s gone on this length of time and NHS England has not been able to solve the problem.

‘We’ve heard the claim that they’re having daily meetings for many weeks, yet nothing much seems to be happening in terms of results on the ground. That’s what practices expect. They want the service they had before, and they want it now.’

The news comes as a petition for a parliamentary enquiry into the failings and its effect on GP practices has gathered thousands of signatures.

It also comes as NHS England officials recently admitted the disruption is putting patients ‘at risk’.

Practice / User Group % Overall satisfaction Average satisfaction score

GP practice

21%

2.91

Dental practice

67%

5.67

Community pharmacy

77%

6.23

High street optometrist

39%

4.19

Why are GPs so dissatisfied?

GP practices have been experiencing significant disruption since the contract was first awarded to Capita and local support service offices began to be rolled up.

Major changes came in in April this year, and practices immediately felt the disruption as they were left without prescription pads and began building up huge stockpiles of uncollected patient notes.

Capita has taken measures to improve collections but practices are still dealing with the fallout from the initial backlog, which Pulse has revealed was down to a major underestimation of the work entailed when NHS England awarded the contract.

This has meant one practice was reported to the Information Commissioners Office when it couldn’t provide undelivered medical records for a court case, and patients have missed out on jobs.

Other problems have occurred from Capita’s takeover of payments and registration to the performers list, despite changes to these services not being planned until 2017.

Practices have consistently reported that the lack of responsiveness from Capita helplines has compounded these issues.

This survey was run in August, after the GPC had condemned the ’systematic failure’ of Capita’s overhaul of services including the movement of patients’ records, ordering of clinical supplies, and the management of pensions, payments and the performers list.