The 28 February deadline for GPs to submit annual pension forms was extended last week to 5pm today after Capita admitted that Primary Care Support England's (PCSE's) online enquiries form had experienced 'some intermittent issues due to the volume of traffic on the website'.
GPs had reported concerns via social media as they struggled to upload information on deadline day, and a message posted on the PCSE website said: 'Due to the high volume of traffic to our online enquiries form, some users have been experiencing intermittent issues with the submission of pension forms.
'We are monitoring this closely and addressing any issues as quickly as possible. If you do receive an error message when completing or submitting the form, please try again later. As a result, we have extended the deadline for submissions to until 5pm on Monday 4 March 2019. We apologise for any inconvenience.'
GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline that the BMA had been made aware of the problem with the PCSE website at the time and that the problem, which he said first emerged on 27 February and reoccurred on 28 February. He said the problem had been identified and fixed each time.
But Dr Vautrey added: 'This is yet another unacceptable PCSE failure and provides further justification for our call that this private contract to deliver vital NHS services be ended.'
LMC leaders voted in November 2018 for Capita immediately to be stripped of its contract for primary care support services.
Primary care support
Earlier this year, a GPonline poll found that half of GP partners were experiencing problems with the Capita-led service, while last summer MPs said NHS England's decision to outsource primary care support had been a 'shambles'.
A Capita spokesperson said earlier this year that the company had 'initially underestimated the complexity of this contract'. The spokesperson added: 'Improvements have been made, and we continue to work with stakeholders and customers to ensure awareness of correct processes to follow to access services.
'Capita is committed to getting this contract right so we can carry on saving the health service money and help NHS England deliver their objective of transforming locally managed, manual paper-based operations into a modern and efficient national customer-focused service.'
An NHS England spokesperson said: 'The NHS is fully committed to improving primary care support services, and is listening to the concerns raised by GPs and meeting GP representatives regularly to focus on improving the services they receive.'