GPs face extra workload after 'technical fault' wipes queries to Capita service

GP practices have been asked to re-send online queries submitted to the Capita-led primary care support service in July or August after a 'technical fault' meant messages were lost.

Online primary care support queries lost (Photo: iStock.com/WDnet)
Online primary care support queries lost (Photo: iStock.com/WDnet)

The precise number of practices affected is unknown, but GP leaders are seeking answers from NHS England and Capita to 'get a better understanding of the scale and issues involved'.

Problems with online queries are the latest in a series of issues that have dogged Primary Care Support England (PCSE) since the service was outsourced to Capita in 2015.

Earlier this year, MPs said NHS England's decision to outsource the service to Capita in a bid to slash the £90m annual cost of primary care support services by a third was a 'shambles' that had put patients at risk.

GP leaders have repeatedly called for the service to be taken back in-house by the NHS, following problems including delayed payments to practices, delayed transfers of patient records, problems with pension payments and long waits for GPs applying to join the NHS performers list.

Primary care support

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline that the BMA learned about the fault last week and had warned LMCs. Dr Vautrey's local Leeds LMC told GPs this week that 'PCSE has asked us to let practices know that due to a technical fault, queries submitted via their online form from 17 July until earlier last week, have not been getting through to their system and cannot be retrieved'.

A Capita spokesperson said: 'A technical fault prevented some recent queries submitted via our online form getting through. This issue has now been resolved, however we would encourage anyone who submitted a query in July and August to resend it if they have not had a response.'

Queries about continuing education training (CET) claims, GP payments, GP pensions and pre-visit notifications were not affected by the technical fault, according to Capita.

The spokesperson added: 'This did not impact on GP payment and pensions queries, as these are managed via a separate online tool. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.'

Meanwhile, NHS England has told the GPC that improvements are being made to the PCSE service, with 98.5% of patient records now being delivered within two weeks following the roll-out of barcode tracking, and performers list complaints down 72% compared with August 2017.

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