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Capita-run GP back office services are an ‘unmitigated disaster’, says GPC chair

Capita’s running of GP back office services – PCSE – is an ‘unmitigated disaster’, the BMA’s GP Committee chair is set to say.

Speaking at the English LMCs conference in London today, Dr Richard Vautrey will say that GPs have to ‘cope with failure after failure’ and NHS England needs to get its ‘act together’.

This comes after private company Capita admitted it failed to deliver over 47,000 cervical cancer screening letters, and waited two months before flagging the problem to NHS England.

Addressing representatives of England’s 100 LMCs, Dr Vautrey will say: ‘The Government has belatedly seen what was obvious to everyone else and decided to no longer commission PFI projects because they’re not good value for money.

‘Well perhaps they ought to learn the lessons and stop outsourcing essential NHS back office services too, as Capita’s running of PCSE has proven to be an unmitigated disaster.’

He will go on to say that ‘practices and individual sessional GPs have had to cope with failure after failure’ and ask ‘how bad can it get before NHS England gets its act together and sorts out a mess that they created?’.

‘They can outsource a service but they cannot outsource their responsibility,’ he adds.

The speech then addresses issues with GP IT, stressing that ‘with at least seven major system failures in recent months’ practices have been left to ‘pick up the pieces with little or no help being provided by NHS England or many CCGs’.

‘They are all too quick to judge and blame but far too slow to step forward with support,’ it continues.

Turning to Babylon’s NHS app, Dr Vautrey will say: ‘Most practices would want to be able to offer smartphone video consultations if they had the bandwidth to support it as it’s probably safer than the many telephone consultations we already do. But none of us are in the business of turning away patients who are too old, or frail, or sick, or mentally ill.’

Dr Vautrey will also take the opportunity to respond to the latest Government announcement – in which £3.5bn of the £20bn pledged to the NHS by 2023/24 will be spent on primary and community care, with initiatives such as 24-hour rapid response teams.

‘To be clear, we cannot accept essential funding used for another hundred micro schemes that wrap us up in bureaucracy, leave practices wondering where the money has gone and patients no better off,’ he will say.

‘We must see new funding used effectively, with practices in control so that we can start to address workload pressures and deliver a safer service to our patients.’

GPs are set to vote on a number of motions at the England LMCs conference 2018, including introducing a workload limit of 1,500 patients per GP, calling for GPC England to negotiate a ‘wholesale’ new GMS contract, and condemning the health secretary’s support for GP at Hand.