GPs who are unable to practise because of problems with Capita’s management of the National Performers List are having to wait four months without work before being able to claim compensation, the BMA has said.
In a reply to a freedom of information request, NHS England told the BMA that compensation for the delays would only be offered on a ‘goodwill basis’ and only in ‘exceptional cases’.
The FOI defined these as cases in which an application to the national performers list was delayed by more than 16 weeks through no fault of the individual GP – meaning a GP would be out of work for four months before being able to claim reimbursement for lost earnings.
GP leaders have said this is ‘appalling’ and an ‘excruciatingly long time to wait without wages in any profession’.
This comes after Pulse revealed last year that GPs have been impeded from working for at least six months due to delays to Capita’s management of the performers list.
Capita, which took over Primary Care Support England (PCSE) in 2015, advises applicants to allow 12 weeks to complete the registration process and checks, but newly qualified GPs have previously told Pulse they have been forced to turn down job offers because they are not yet on the list.
Dr Ian Hume, BMA GP committee premises and practice finance policy lead, said: ‘Imagine not being allowed to do your job – despite being professionally qualified and positions being available – because of an admin error.
‘Now imagine being told to sit on your hands for four months, without work, before your case is deemed “exceptional” enough to even consider compensating you for lost earnings.
‘Four months is an excruciatingly long time to wait without wages in any profession. Doctors affected by these delays will have mortgages to pay, households to support and in many cases families to feed. Any delay in wages being paid is unacceptable but 16 weeks is appalling.’
This comes as general practice is experiencing a recruitment and retention crisis with the latest official figures showing that 219 GP left the profession in the last three months of 2017, with another 3,000 claiming their pension early in the last five year.
Dr Hume said: ‘We are in the midst of a recruitment and retention crisis in general practice, and here we have a case of GPs who are qualified and who want to work, but are unable to because of the incompetent management of an administrative system by a private sector company.
‘After two years of chaos, Capita has showed once again that it is not able to deliver this system, and we call on NHS England to urgently provide solutions to the litany of problems GPs and practice teams are still facing.’
The Department of Health had previously said that GPs experiencing delays to getting on the performers list should not expect compensation for lost earnings.
NHS England and Capita have been approached for comment.
More to follow…
Support services disruption
Practices have been contending with significant disruption to payments, pensions, supplies and patient notes since Capita began overhauling services in 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
NHS England pledged ‘significant improvements’ to general practice support services will be completed by April 2017, as it sought to return the services it outsourced last year to ‘acceptable’ levels.
But since then the GPC has written to NHS England about the ‘unacceptable’ problems with Capita’s primary care support services, saying it will support ’practices and individual doctors in taking legal routes to seek resolution’.
The BMA has also sent another FOI to NHS England asking for details of ‘unallocated’ pensions money, but after they failed to respond the BMA reported NHS England to the information commissioner.