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GPs told to bypass patient record collection service

Scottish GP practices are being advised that it may be easier to ask English GP practices directly for the records of newly registered patients who have moved from England.

The advice, contained in Glasgow LMC’s latest newsletter, says this is in light of NHS England’s outsourcing primary care support services to Capita, which has resulted in significant delays.

The GPC said that this has been necessary, but is unsustainable in the long run due to the workload implications.

The newsletter said the Scottish primary care support services, which are not outsourced, were ‘aware of the problems’ and ‘are liaising with Capita and NHS England to improve the situation and reduce delays’.

Glasgow LMC told members: ‘Due to the problems with the transfer of the service to the new provider and performance issues, there have been significant delays in GP practices receiving the physical GP paper records for patient who have come from England.’

It added: ‘GPs who require information patient urgently can contact the patient’s former practice and ask for information to be sent electronically by secure email to the practice’s NHSmail generic clinical mailbox.’

It comes as Pulse has reported that Capita temporarily ‘paused’ collection of patient records in England altogether briefly after taking over the services, with practices ‘stockpiling’ records as a result.

Although these have now restarted, Pulse has also revealed that the transfer of patient records has been delayed, while the Information Commissioner’s Office is now looking into complaints from GPs that English patient records have gone missing since Capita took over.

GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt said: ‘Due to problems with the outsourcing of NHS England’s records and payments services, there have been delays for practices in Scotland when requesting patient records for new patients moving from England.

‘Where the information has been required urgently, practices have been contacting the former practice directly, but this is not a sustainable situation as practices across Scotland are already dealing with significant workload pressures.’

Capita and NHS England were approached but did not provide a comment.