NHS must take primary care support back in-house, BMA warns

The BMA's top GP has urged NHS England to bring parts of the primary care support service outsourced to Capita to be brought back in-house, to bring an end to 'two years of chaos'.

In a letter to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey demands an 'action plan with timeframes' for resolving ongoing problems with major parts of the primary care support operation run by Capita.

The letter, timed to coincide with a damning report from the National Audit Office (NAO) on NHS England's handling of the decision to outsource Primary Care Support England (PCSE) to Capita in a £330m seven-year deal, warns that GPs are contacting the BMA 'on a daily basis by practices seeking support to resolve issues that have been outstanding for an unacceptable length of time'.

Dr Vautrey warns that no harm has come to patients - despite serious risks identified by the NAO - only because of 'the effort and professionalism of GPs and other staff'.

The letter highlights ongoing problems with processing pension payments, training grants and doctors being unable to work because of difficulties accessing the NHS performers list managed by Capita.

Practice funding

In some cases pension contributions have been taken out of practice funding 'for doctors that have long since left the practice', Dr Vautrey warned - leaving practices out of pocket by substantial sums.

'I hope the NAO’s significant report and findings will now lead to NHS England taking urgent action to ensure that primary care support services are delivered properly,' the GPC chair wrote.

'Please can you provide us with the action plan for each service line of how you are going to resolve the outstanding issues including timeframes.'

Dr Vautrey highlighted that last year's England LMCs conference had demanded a return to direct public control of primary care support. He added: 'Now that the NAO has also recommended that NHS England should consider whether some service lines should be delivered in-house by NHS England we believe this should be actioned as a key way to resolve this failure.'

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