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PAC report on missing correspondence ‘is damning indictment on NHS England’

Responding to the Public Accounts Committee report1 on clinical correspondence handling, which shows NHS England was slow to address the backlog of misdirected letters, BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said:  

“Amid the longstanding chaos caused by the outsourcing of GP support services, as clearly exposed by the recent National Audit Office report2, this further publication is another damning indictment of NHS England’s inability to deliver basic administrative efficiency in back-office systems.

“Given the ongoing confusion and lack of effective communication, it is regrettable yet understandable that some practices may have, in good faith, sent misdirected correspondence on to PCSE. This would have been the arrangement before NHS England tried to cut costs by commissioning PCSE services to Capita two years ago.

“Ever since the scale of the problem became clear, the BMA has been pressuring NHS England to get an action plan in place, including a guarantee of proper funding for practices to deal with the resulting increase in workload. However, if NHS England had managed the situation properly then it would not have needed to spend £2.4m resolving the issue, and this could have been money instead spent on patient services and practices struggling with unmanageable workloads and bureaucracy.

“Overall this report underlines the need for NHS England to get to grips with a problem that has been disrupting general practice for years, and to introduce an effective system that guarantees safe and efficient care for patients.”


Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. Read the full report here.
  2. Find more information about the NAO report here.
  3. Read more about the BMA’s work on issues with PCSE/Capita here.

For further information please contact:

British Medical Association, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP
Telephone: 020 7383 6448 
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