GP practices begin processing backlog of over 100,000 patient letters

GP practices across England have begun to receive their share of a huge backlog of patient data that a former provider of primary care support services left by mistake in a warehouse.

Patient records (Photo: JH Lancy)
Patient records (Photo: JH Lancy)

The BMA revealed last month that it had agreed a payment scheme to cover the cost of extra workload practices faced after former primary care support provider NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) identified 'a warehouse of patient-related information that they should have transferred to practices for processing, but had failed to do so'.

The data backlog was triaged by a team of GPs, with any items identified as urgent sent immediately on to practices.

But potentially hundreds of thousands of lower priority documents remained to be distributed, of which the BMA said most are expected to be 'DNAs, temporary resident forms or other items with little clinical information'.

GP workload

A handful of practices are expected to have more than 500 documents to process, while around 1,000 will have 100-500 items to work through, and many more practices will have smaller numbers of documents sent to them.

In total, affected practices look likely to be forced to work through at least 100,000 - and potentially more than 500,000 - letters and documents.

The GPC and NHS England have agreed a framework to pay practices for the additional workload they face, with a deal offering a fixed payment of £50 for processing less than 20 documents, £100 for 20 to 50 documents, and £50 for each batch of up to 10 items for any practice with more than 50 documents in total to process.

Current primary care support services provider Capita is not involved in the distribution of the backlog of data. NHS England said last week it was considering whether practices should receive compensation or support for problems with support services since the company took over.

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