GPs are seeking to claim a quarter of a million pounds in unpaid bills from NHS England, its support services provider Capita and other NHS organisations, after a GP pressure group enlisted debt collectors.
Pulse revealed last week that campaign group GP Survival was asking GPs and practices to come forward with details of missing payments since Capita was handed the Primary Care Support England contract.
GP Survival chair Dr Matt Mayer told Pulse that in less than a week he had been approached by 25 GPs or practices owed payments ‘approaching a quarter of a million’.
The debt collection group have assigned a case agent to review each complaint and determine whether the debt was recoverable and whether that would be from NHS England, Capita or another party.
Capita told Pulse it had not been approached by GP Survival directly but said GPs should use the ‘usual channels’ to contact it with any problems and it would solve them ‘as quickly as possible’.
The contract, which runs from 2015-2021, ran into problems soon after services transferred from local offices to Capita’s new national function, this included trainees going unpaid nationwide, missing payments and a log-jam in performers list applications that left qualified doctors sitting at home for six months.
Dr Mayer told Pulse that ‘the overriding theme’ from practices is that they have ‘sent email after email after email, each time they’re sent a reference number and a statement that it’s been escalated and then nothing happens’.
The cases he had been sent included practices where partners had taken pay cuts or not taken their drawings ‘because they’re paying registrars out of their own pocket’.
Dr Mayer said: ‘I’m getting a few emails a day from practices or doctors, at the moment I’ve got a list of about 25 cases, each one averaging about ten grand.
‘So you’re getting up to about a quarter of a million quid in combined debt, and that’s in less than a week.
‘We’re trying to break that cycle, the system of emailing and escalating things hasn’t worked.’
A spokesperson for Capita told Pulse: ‘We have established processes for dealing with individual enquiries. We are fully focused on resolving any queries as swiftly as possible and would encourage GP’s to contact us through the usual channels.’
NHS England is responsible for GP payments and the Capita contract and it recently set up a claims line for practices to use where they have incurred direct or indirect losses.
A spokesperson told Pulse: ‘Any GP who has a payment concern should contact Primary Care Support England in the first instance. This will enable them to resolve any outstanding actions required.’
Where to turn for support services support?
It also has a dedicated email address for complaints (email@example.com), listed at the bottom of its Contact Us page.
Complaintants will receive a reference number and have a case handler assigned to provide progress updates on the case, and NHS England’s standard complaint handling process means Capita ‘aims to respond in writing within 40 working days’.
Routine enquiries or support requests should be made through its online enquiry form or by calling 0333 014 2884.
However PCSE has been gradually rolling up local support offices that used to deliver support services and follow-up any complaints and queries, so practices in Essex may still have to contact the Clacton-on-Sea branch, details here.
GP practices that have been affected by primary care support service failures were urged in May to send their financial compensation claims to NHS England.
This agreement, with the BMA GP Committee, followed a year of calls for practices to be able to claim for compensation.