Primary care support service must be returned to public domain, say LMCs

LMCs in England have called for primary care support functions to be returned to public sector control - and instructed the GPC to make this a central demand in the next round of contract negotiations.

Private company Capita currently runs Primary Care Support England, which provides administrative and support services for practices. However, the service has been beset with problems since it began in September 2015.

Delegates at the English LMCs conference in London today said Capita had failed in its role and the service should be publicly run to ensure proper accountability.

Dr Elliott Singer from Waltham Forest LMC said: ‘When discussing Capita we are not just talking about trivial problems, but major problems affecting GPs on a daily basis.

‘Whatever aspect of primary care support Capita is involved in it has failed. Practices are in acute financial uncertainty. How many businesses survive without good financial control, yet Capita is preventing practices from fulfilling this most basic business requirement.

‘Capita is not delivering. They have been given too many opportunities to get this right and have failed. The delivery of these essential functions enables not only general practice to function but by association the whole of the NHS and needs to be under public control.’

Problems with Capita

Dr Sarah Westerbeek from Kent LMC said: ‘The issues with Capita are well-documented, plentiful and having a significant detrimental impact on all practitioners and patients.

‘We believe not only should Capita be held accountable for their mistakes, they should be financially penalised for them and moreover that they are wholly incompetent and they should be replaced.’

However David Gibbs chief operating officer of Derby & Derbyshire LMC said NHS England was responsible for ensuring Capita performed effectively.

‘NHS England has failed in its duty to hold Capita to account,’ he said. ‘The issue is that NHS England are either complicit or Capita are really successful in pulling the wool over their eyes. Do we really want NHS England to take over running of the service?’

GPC member Dr Ian Hume said the committee was already pressing NHS England on the problems related to Capita. 'We want to push for a system that works,' he said.

Last week GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey wrote to NHS England to warn that GPs have been left unable to work for months, trainees have been denied pay, and patient safety may have been compromised by problems that continue to affect the service.

LMCs have also warned that problems with Capita are continuing to cause 'overwhelming destabilisation' to general practice across England.

Some GPs have waited more than a year for some payments due from the service.

The motion in full
That conference calls upon GPC England to:
i. make the return of the delivery of primary care support functions to the public domain a central demand in the next round of contract negotiations
ii. urgently address Capita’s failure to correctly collect superannuation contributions in England and seek recompense for those practitioners affected.
iii. demand that NHS England prioritise PCSE service improvement with regard to financial statements so that practices can undertake informed business planning.
All parts were carried.

Full coverage of LMCs conference

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