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GP patient records system “in chaos”, warns new BMA survey

GP leaders have warned that the GP patient record system in England is “in chaos” following a BMA survey that revealed widespread problems with the delivery of back office services by Capita.

The new survey received responses from 281 GP practices about their experiences in October 2016 covering more than 2,159,547 patients in England. It focused on the performance of Capita, which won a new out sourced contract from NHS England, to deliver administrative support services to GP practices in September 2015.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Close to three out of ten (28 per cent) GP practices reported they failed to receive or have records collected from them on the agreed date with Capita.
  • Eight out of ten (81 per cent) practices stated that urgent requests for records had not been actioned within three weeks.
  • Around six out of ten (58 per cent) GP practices reported that new patient registrations were not processed within the required three days.
  • Close to a third (31 per cent) of practices reported that they had received incorrect patient records.
  • Around a quarter of those surveyed (23 per cent) had not received the medical supplies they had ordered on the expected date, like medicines and prescription pads.
  • Just over half (51 per cent) of GP practices reported that customer service support staff were unable to resolve issues within an appropriate timeframe.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said:

“The crucial GP patient record system is currently in a state of chaos because of the complete failure of Capita to deliver an effective service.

“Records are being incorrectly delivered, new patient registrations are being delayed and urgent requests for information are taking over three weeks to be processed in the majority of cases. There are further unacceptable delays in medical supplies reaching GP practices.

“These mistakes are putting patient care and safety at risk. Practices require patient records to judge what clinical care an individual needs, and they need medical supplies delivered on time to be able to provide care to their community.  It is scandalous that up to a third of GP practices are reporting problems with incorrect patient records being sent to GP practices. 

“The government needs to get a grip with the chaotic state of Capita’s handling of this key part of general practice. Patients deserve a first rate service that is safe and effective. At present, GPs are being undermined by a system that is in a chaotic mess.”


Notes to Editors

A copy of the survey is 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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