Earlier this year, Capita announced a three-year extension to its primary care support services contract with NHS England. Pulse’s recent investigation has analysed the performance of Capita’s service delivery arm Primary Care Support England (PCSE), how it has affected GPs and patient care, and the justification for the extension. As part of this we spoke to GPs about their experience with the organisation. These are their stories.
A GP in Merseyside tells Pulse she has been having issues with PCSE since 2016.
The problems first started in September 2016, when two cheques for pension contributions she had sent in went missing and she was asked to send them again. She says she emailed PCSE several times asking them not to cash all the cheques if the missing two were found. But all the cheques were cashed, meaning she ended up paying the pension payments for May and June twice.
‘I spent several months ringing and emailing them to try and sort this out. It got to early 2018 and I still hadn’t heard anything. I actually wrote to the ombudsman as well and they tried to get in touch with PCSE, but wrote back to me to say they couldn’t help because PCSE weren’t responding.’
After making a formal complaint and having her case investigated as one of the test cases looked at by PwC in 2018, the GP finally got a cheque in February 2019 refunding the money. But since then, she has experienced ongoing issues. This includes problems with getting her performers list status updated when working as both locum and salaried GP, and a pension payment she is owed being made to a practice she no longer works for, which she has struggled to get to the bottom of.
‘There’s another issue too – every time I contact them, they tell me my records are up to date. But actually, my total rewards statement has never been up to date past 2018,’ she says. ‘I also sent some cheques for around £5000 before lockdown – three months’ worth of contributions – and PCSE has lost them. Every time I asked them whether they received the cheques and if my records were up to date, they said yes. Until earlier this year, when they emailed to say I owe them £5000.’
She adds that if the cheques had been cashed at the time, it would have been fine but due to working less as a result of long Covid she is currently not in a financial position to send them again.
‘I’ve not been well since 2020 with long Covid, which has been generally stressful anyway and it just takes an awful lot of time chasing PCSE. You send multiple emails, and you get emails back giving you a case reference number, but then you don’t hear anything further and you never get anywhere.’
The GP says that the only improvement she has seen since 2016 is that PCSE now notify her when they have received her pension forms, but she has been unable to access the new portal – launched by PCSE last year to try and improve access and transparency around pensions data – and is still submitting her information manually: ‘I can’t actually access this online, I try, and nothing happens.’