Practices told to take court action over Capita trainee payment chaos

GP leaders have told practices to take legal action over unpaid trainee reimbursements caught up in the Capita support service crisis.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul
GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul

The GPC last week wrote to NHS England’s director of commissioning Rosamond Roughton demanding immediate reimbursement for practices that have not been provided with funding for trainees.

If practices have the correct payment information, the GPC recommended that they pay their trainees and seek reimbursement directly from NHS England immediately.

The letter to NHS England bosses also demanded that correct payment data should urgently be provided to practices that do not have this information.

GP trainees

The letter, signed by GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul and GP trainee subcommittee chair Dr Samira Anane warned NHS England that the GPC would advise practices which are not reimbursed within seven days to seek redress in the county courts.

The GP leaders said: ‘While we understand that there are a number of complexities with regard to GP trainee payment, the immediate interim solutions must be put in place while the detail is agreed for a long-term solution.

'We intend to inform practices of their duty to pay trainees within the next 24 hours and will be directing both those practices who have not received accurate pay calculations and those who have not received reimbursement for trainees’ pay, to write to NHS England regional teams and to PCSE to advise them that if this matter is not resolved within seven calendar days that legal proceedings may be issued in the County Courts.’

The latest move comes a week after a BMA survey of practices revealed widespread chaos caused by the failings in the primary care support services taken over by private contractor Capita in September 2015 as part of a drive to make 40% savings from the service’s £1bn budget.

GP support service

Last week the government said it had told Capita it must consider compensation for practices affected by the chaos.

The BMA has previously warned that patients have been put at risk by problems reported by GPs including delays in transferring patient records, shortages of prescription pads, problems processing newly qualified GPs' applications to join the performers list and other issues.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘The situation facing GP trainees is not only failing a key part of our workforce, but also placing unacceptable pressure on GP practices who are having to dip into their overstretched budgets to make up the shortfall in funding. This money should be being spent on patient services, not on bailing out Capita’s failures.

‘Despite a proposed way forward being agreed at a recent meeting on 9 November, I am deeply disappointed that the DH failed to attend given the seriousness of this situation. NHS England needs to get a grip on Capita’s failings urgently and the DH needs to start taking this crisis seriously.’

Dr Anane added: ‘It is completely unacceptable that we are still seeing widespread problems across the country with GP practices failing to receive information and reimbursement for GP trainees’ pay. This should be a straightforward process and not the chaotic mess that it has descended into across England. As a valued part of the workforce providing frontline care to patients, GP trainees deserve the respect of having their salaries paid in a timely and efficient manner.’

A spokeswoman fro Capita said: 'NHS England contracted Capita to both streamline delivery of GP support services and make significant cost savings across what was a highly localised service with unstandardised, generally unmeasured and in some cases, uncompliant processes. We have taken on this challenging initiative and we have openly apologised for the varied level of service experienced by some service users. We are currently looking to standardise the way payments are processed nationally to ensure practices across the country receive a consistent service.

'We recently met with BMA representatives and they are aware of the steps we are taking and, as they acknowledge, there has recently been an ‘overall positive trend’ across a number of services.'

 

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