GP leaders 'alarmed' by Capita role in £2.7m accountable care deal

GP leaders have raised concerns with NHS bosses over the involvement of outsourcing firm Capita in the development of an accountable care system.

Capita: primary care support role (Photo: JH Lancy)

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) employed Capita to provide support for a £2.7m contract.

On Friday Nottinghamshire LMC and Nottingham City GP Alliance published a letter to STP leaders raising GPs' concerns over Capita's involvement.

The contract to support development of the accountable care system in Greater Nottingham was awarded to Centene UK, part of a US health firm. STP bosses said the contract was procured via Capita, which managed the commissioning process, and that Capita would be providing Centene support including data and analytics.

Primary care support

Capita has been criticised for its running of NHS primary care support since it took over services including patient records transfers, performers list management and GP payments in 2016.

Nottinghamshire GP leaders said in their letter to STP bosses they were alarmed by the involvement of Capita in transformation plans. The company’s reputation in general practice had been ‘extremely tarnished’ by the problems with primary care support, they said.

Local GPs, they added, had been ‘amazed and anxious’ by news of Capita’s involvement, and wanted clarification about the firm’s role.

They added: ‘We would also seek reassurance that there are sufficient penalty clauses on the contract to protect the Greater Nottingham Transformation Partnership, CCGs and the local NHS funding should practices' fears be realised.’

The Greater Nottingham Transformation Partnership, which includes four CCGs, two councils, and two acute trusts, was given the go-ahead by NHS England in June to become an ACS accelerator site.

Patient data

Centene's US parent firm admitted in 2016 that it had lost hard drives containing personal and medical data of almost 1m patients.

Nottingham accountable care system lead Dr Stephen Shortt said: ‘We have written to all our local GPs to clarify the role of Capita plc in managing a competitive tender that was awarded to Centene UK recently.

‘Our local STP was given access to substantial transformation funding this year when Nottingham and Nottinghamshire was named as one of eight national "accelerator sites" to develop accountable care systems (ACS) as a new integrated healthcare model.

‘The aim of this model is to offer patients a more joined up experience of healthcare by bringing all our local providers together under one NHS and social care system. But it will take a lot of time, expertise and co-ordinated effort to achieve. That’s why we have invested £2.7m in 2017/18 of the national funding to buy in support from Centene UK who have international experience of helping public health systems to provide better patient outcomes.

‘The role of Capita in the competitive procurement process for this contract has been misrepresented. CCGs routinely procure commissioning support via a central list of accredited providers on the NHS lead provider framework. As a "prime provider" on this framework, Capita plc supported the tender process and effectively acted as link between the Transformation Partnership and Centene UK.

‘The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire NHS has an excellent track record of working together to deliver results, which is one of the reasons we were picked to pilot this new way of working. Going forward I am hopeful that transparency and meaningful engagement will clarify the aims of the ACS as well as allow clinicians and patients to take an active role in defining the healthcare system they want to see in the future.’

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