GPC passes no confidence vote in Capita, warning patients 'put at risk'

Senior BMA GPs have passed a vote of no confidence in the provider organisation Capita, warning that patients have been put at risk by problems transferring records between practices and a patient list cleaning drive.

Patient records awaiting transfer between practices (Photo: Dr Irfan Malik)
Patient records awaiting transfer between practices (Photo: Dr Irfan Malik)

The GPC warned that problems with the primary care support service run by Capita had caused 'serious disruption for general practice'.

A BMA statement warned that the no confidence vote had been carried after 'months of concerns highlighted by practices in England about the failures in patient record transfer, delivery of supplies and payment problems since NHS England handed over responsibility to Capita, as well as the very real concerns highlighted yesterday in NHS England's plans to remove patients from practice lists'.

Capita won a seven- to 10-year contract worth around £400m to take over provision of primary care support services in 2015 as NHS England outsourced the administrative support service in a bid to cut costs by tens of millions of pounds a year.

But GPs have reported major problems with the service it has operated since April to move paper copies of patient records between practices when patients move. Practices have highlighted problems with delayed collection and transfer of records and have questioned whether records were adequately labelled, warning that problems with moving records between practices could endanger patients.

Patient record concerns

Capita accepted practices had experienced problems, and pledged earlier this year to work with the GPC, NHS England and others to improve its services.

But GPs have continued to voice concerns and after the vote on Thursday, GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'The GPC has passed a vote of no confidence in Capita. We believe that the commissioned service they provide for primary care support in England is putting patients at risk and has caused serious disruption for general practice.

'The plans for removing patients from practice lists should be abandoned. Every person in the UK has a fundamental right to be registered with a local GP practice at all times. We are calling on NHS England to meet with GPC England to discuss these plans before any further action is taken.'

A spokeswoman for Capita told GPonline: 'Capita has been engaged by NHS England to undertake this major transformation of primary care services from what was a locally agreed, fragmented system to one that is standardised, effective and efficient.

'Given the scale and complexity of transformation there will undoubtedly be challenges. We are working closely with NHS England and our key stakeholders including the GPC. NHS England has recognised the progress we have made and together we will ensure it continues.'

A spokeswoman for NHS England said: 'Cutting administrative back office costs by 40% has freed up tens of millions of pounds for reinvestment in frontline NHS care, but the vendor swiftly needs to deal with these transition issues so that practice managers are properly supported. We will be holding the vendor to account for doing exactly that.'

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