PCSE (Primary Care Support England) service failures

This guidance covers the issues GP practices have raised about Capita providing PCSE, guidance on how you can raise concerns and what the BMA is doing to help.

Location: England
Audience: GPs Practice managers
Updated: Friday 28 June 2024
GP practice article illustration

PCSE (Primary Care Support England), also known as Capita, have been responsible for the delivery of NHS England's primary care support services since September 2015.

GPs and LMCs identified serious issues with the service from the outset, with patient safety, GP workload and GP finances being affected.

The BMA general practitioners committee has been engaging with NHS England and PCSE and on several occasions had been promised improvements. Some progress has been made following our lobbying, however services still fall short and there is still an urgent need to resolve these issues.


Guidance for practices

We are aware of a number of issues that practices have experienced with PCSE and we are pushing NHS England and PCSE to resolve them.

Download our guidance for GP practices on how to resolve these issues and get compensation, how to raise a concern with PCSE and make a claim for any unpaid money.

Issues reported

Medical records
  • Delays to the movement of medical records for various reasons including labels not being received or incorrect labels being received.
  • Missing and incomplete medical records which compromises patient treatment.
  • Lack of timely delivery of urgent requests for patient records.
  • Practices reporting large backlog of records waiting to be collected.
  • Wrong patient records delivered to practices.
  • Unable to systematically collect medical records from branch practice surgeries resulting in practice staff having to transport them to the main surgery.
  • Reported delays in receiving records for cross-border practices.
Patient registrations

Faulty processes causing delays and problems with delayed registrations, incorrect removals and issues with removals of violent patients.

Performers list

Mistakes in updating and maintaining the performers list due to:  

  • delays in processing performer status changes which could impact on practice finances
  • duplicate entries
  • newly qualified GPs not being amended on the performers list in a timely manner (issues related to signing partnership agreements, leases etc)
  • adding doctors who have not completed their CCT
  • GPs not being visible on the performers list resulting in GPs being unable to work and a significant loss of earnings. 

There has also been instances of LMCs not receiving the data about entrants to performers list in their area. 

Medical supplies
  • Failure in the provision of medical supplies (such as syringes, needles) and prescriptions stationery so that patient services were disrupted.
  • Supplies are not delivered in a timely manner.
  • Some supplies that were previously provided are no longer.
  • GP training practices not receiving their training grants and trainee pay reimbursements.
  • Practices not being paid correctly/reimbursed for other elements of the service they provide.
  • Uncertainty over what they are being paid as there is not clear breakdown of payments.
  • Problems with LMC levy collections and payments.
  • Significant issues with processing of pension contributions leading to cases of incorrect allocations and records of pension contributions.
  • Locum GP pension payments are not acknowledged or processed in a timely manner and in some instances have gone missing.
  • Superannuation payments being taken from practices for doctors that have left the practice.
  • GP registrars not being added to the scheme in a timely manner.
  • Tax implications because of incorrect records.
  • A significant number of women not receiving important correspondence relating to cervical screening.
  • Customer service centre underprepared.
  • Inappropriate responses from customer service centre.
  • LMCs, practices and individuals that are not being dealt with in a timely manner.
  • Complaints process not fit for purpose.
  • Unacceptable delays in resolving problems.

The BMA's view and developments

PCSE erroneously archived 148,000 patient medical records instead of sending them GP practices. The records will now have been sent to the patients' practices, and NHS England expects those practices to undertake an assessment of harm for each patient affected.

We have been clear with NHS England that practices will need extra support to cover costs of this extra work. We were not prepared to agree to a settlement which did not compensate the extra work.

You can ask NHS England directly what compensation they are able to offer to your practice.

If you are not happy with the amount offered by NHS England and reject it, we recommend you contact the BMA. We are beginning to collect information from practices to take forward legal action against NHS England.