This site is intended for health professionals only

GPs say there has been ‘no meaningful improvement’ to support service failures

Local GP leaders have written to Capita and the Government to complain that primary care support services are still failing practices, two years after the contract was outsourced nationally.

The letter from Derby and Derbyshire LMC says practices have ‘not yet seen a meaningful improvement’ to problems including practice payments, the performers list, pensions and patient records movement.

And it claims that regional Primary Care Support England (PCSE) leads told the LMC at a recent meeting that there was ‘no expectation of any substantive rectification of any service this year’.

According to the LMC, the situation is putting practices under ‘intolerable pressure’ and goes on to accuse NHS England for allowing Capita to ‘get away with… utter failing’.

The letter, addressed to NHS England primary care delivery director Dominic Hardy and copied to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, says the situation ‘is simply unacceptable and threatens the transfer of intolerable risks onto GP practices, with no mechanisms for them to satisfactorily manage these risks’.

It adds that ‘if GPs delivered the standard of performance that PCSE are providing there is a real risk that they would be closed down by CQC’.

It concludes: ‘The risks to patients following the mismanagement of their personal data and the overwhelming destabilisation of general practice caused by this debacle is in danger of becoming a national disgrace and must be resolved.’

According to the LMC the hours wasted by practices managing problems with the contract are preventing them from engaging with GP Forward View schemes intended to improve the sustainability of general practice

NHS England said last year that it had issued Capita with financial penalties for missing performance targets but provided no detail due to ‘commercial confidentiality’.

It said in April that service levels had been brought to ‘acceptable’ levels, but GP leaders said at the time that this was ‘utter garbage’.

A Pulse analysis showed how some problems were caused by NHS England significantly underestimating the demands on the service when awarding the contract.

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘Capita are under formal contract rectification, and the issues raised in this Derby/Derbyshire letter will be taken up with them direct.’

Capita declined to comment.