MP Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West, Lab) has secured a debate on 8 November after meeting practices to discuss concerns about the service delivered by Capita.
He hit out at late payments, problems with patient record transfers, shortages of prescription pads and other concerns that practices have raised since Capita secured a primary care support deal worth up to £400m over the next seven to 10 years. The MP criticised the 'shambles' that had followed the award of the primary care support deal to Capita.
BMA leaders have repeatedly criticised the service, warning that patients were being put at risk by 'multiple serious failings', and reiterated calls for swift action to resolve the problems.
Patient record delays
Mr Robinson said: 'Local GPs are reporting that they are facing unacceptable delays in patient record transfers and mistakes in maintaining supplies of crucial medical equipment like syringes and even prescription pads.
'There is no question that Capita has run into severe problems and was considerably underprepared for the level of work and resource required for the rollout, and the difficulties and complaints by GPs raises a question about how officials at NHS England considered it possible that Capita could save 40% in the first year, transform services for GPs and make a profit – all concurrently.'
'The outsourcing has led to some GP practices, buying their own clinical supplies to continue running patient clinics, not receiving payments they are due, experiencing long delays in the manual transfer of patient records, reporting that they have been sent the wrong patient records or those of patients who have been recently deceased and stockpiling the records of patients who have moved home.'
Mr Robinson has called for an investigation by the Information Commissioner, and urged GPs affected to register formal complaints with the Information Commissioner.
He added: 'I believe GP practices should be compensated for the disruption, as problems have continued despite various assurances they were being addressed. Why should GP practices be missing thousands of pounds in payments following the outsourcing of a national primary care support service?'
GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'There is clear evidence of a range of systematic failures in the way Capita are running crucial back office support services in general practice. This debate in parliament is a vital opportunity to raise these concerns so that urgent action can be taken.
'Local GPs across the country are reporting to the BMA that they are facing unacceptable delays in patient record transfers and mistakes in maintaining supplies of crucial medical equipment, like syringes and even prescription paper. Many GP practices are also not getting funding transferred correctly from other NHS bodies to cover staff costs and pensions, which means they are having to dip into on their already stretched budgets to cover these costs.
'These mistakes are directly impacting on the ability of many GPs to provide safe, effective care to their patients in the area.'
After a BMA survey in September highlighted a range of concerns with primary care support, a Capita spokewoman said: 'We fully recognise that the services we provide play a key role in supporting primary care providers and apologise for the level and varied quality of service we have provided across a number of PCSE services. We are continuing to work closely with NHS England and our focus remains on delivering these important services at an optimum level.'
Photo: Ian Bottle