General practitioner England

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BMA welcomes debate in parliament on Capita

BMA press release: Immediate release, Wednesday 2 November 2016

BMA welcomes debate in parliament on GP service provider, Capita

The BMA has welcomed news that there will be an Adjournment Debate on 8 November in Westminster Hall regarding delivery of Capita’s Primary Care Support Services contract1.

The BMA has repeatedly warned2 that patient safety is being compromised by multiple failures in back office support services currently run by Capita.

In August, a qualitative survey by the BMA of Local Medical Committees (LMCs), the regional bodies that represents GPs, revealed serious failures in a range of areas Capita are now responsible for as part of its  contract with NHS England to run Primary Care Support (PCS) services. This includes:

  • Serious problems with the management of patient records, including

a) Long delays in collection/delivery of records when patients transfer from one practice to another

b) Failure to process urgent requests for records in a timely manner if the patients has an immediate emergency

c) Large build-ups of records awaiting transfer to a new practice

d) Wrong records delivered to practices resulting in time wasted by the GP attempting to reroute them.

e) Records not being updated so they often appear with patient’s previous addresses on the records.

  • Delays in providing funding for GP Trainees, resulting in many practices having to fund their salaries from their own overstretched budgets.
  • Failures in maintaining supplies to GP practices, including GP practices suffering shortages of key materials like prescription pads, fit note certificates and syringes.
  • Delays, failures and mistakes in ensuring NHS pension payments are properly recorded for GP locums.
  • Failure to support practice properly in dealing with violent patients.

Commenting ahead of next week’s debate, Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee deputy chair, 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 in Coventry and 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. They are in some cases being left without the essential information they need to know about a new patient and the tools to treat them.

“NHS England is ultimately responsible for the chaos caused by trying to cut the cost of this essential service for practices by privatising it and we can now all too clearly see the result, with practices picking up the workload and patients suffering as a result.  The BMA has written to NHS England3 expressing grave concern about this state of affairs and received an apology for these failures. But we need urgent action to correct these shortcomings before patient care is further compromised.”


Notes to Editors

The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.

Coventry North West MP, Geoffrey Robinson has secured an Adjournment Debate on 8 November in Westminster Hall regarding delivery of Capita’s Primary Care Support Services contract.

2. More information on the BMA’s concerns about Capita is available here.

3. The BMA letter to NHS England and the reply from NHS England can be found here. 

For further information please contact:

British Medical Association, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP
Telephone: 020 7383 6448 
Email: [email protected]
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