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GPs to be paid for work stemming from NHS SBS failure to redirect mail

Affected GPs will receive funding to work through a four-year backlog of hospital correspondence sent to the wrong practice.

GPs missed out on correspondence dating back to 2011 due to errors made by NHS Shared Business Services in redirecting and forwarding correspondence sent to the wrong practice by hospitals, up until its NHS England contract ended in 2015.

But the GPC said it has negotiated for NHS England to pay a fee to practices left having to sort out the mess.

Under the deal, practices will be reimbursed based on how many complete messages they are having to deal with, as follows:

  • Fewer than 20 documents – a payment of £50;
  • 20 to 50 – a payment of £100;
  • More than 50 – £50 for each batch of up to 10 items. 

Pulse reported earlier this year that the issues affected at least three areas: North East London, the East Midlands and South West England.

When a patient changed practice the service was intended to ensure continuity by redirecting correspondence returned by their old GP to the new one.

But the documents were instead stored in a warehouse and unearthed in 2015. This included temporary resident forms, patient test results and communications about treatment.

Documents that had potential risk of causing ongoing harm were triaged and returned to practices over the summer.

The GPC’s update said the ‘vast majority’ of items will have little clinical information – such as DNAs or temporary resident forms – and will not require action.

But is added that despite this ‘all of the correspondence needs to be assessed to ensure that the interests of patients are protected and potential harm is either identified or ruled out’.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the issue had seen patients let down ‘yet again’, while practices were lumbered with the work to sort out this issue on top of ‘serious systematic failures’ caused by Capita since it assumed responsibility for primary care support last year.

Dr Vautrey said: ‘With the serious failures of Shared Business Services now exposed, it is clear that patients have yet again been badly let down by another private company tasked by the NHS to deal with the transfer to practices of important clinical information and letters. ‘

‘This is in addition to the systematic and serious failures in the Capita-run administrative support services which are still causing major problems for practices.’