This site is intended for health professionals only

NHS England admits Capita’s problems have put patients at risk

3 October 2016

Share this article

NHS England directors have admitted that problems caused by Capita’s GP support services has put patient safety at risk.

At the NHS England Board Meeting last week, directors said the problems with Capita have worsened and were creating “some risks for patients”.

Karen Wheeler, NHS England’s national director for transformation and corporate operations, said: “I just want to recognise that obviously this has impacts for users, which include of course primary care contractors – GPs, ophthalmic and dental practitioners – and recognise that that’s difficult for all those users, and indeed creating some risks for patients as well.

“So we are doing everything we can to make sure that we escalate, and address the risks particularly for patients, and we will be communicating with practitioners how we are planning on, with Capita, to try to improve services as quickly as possible.”

A recent survey of more than 500 GPs and practice managers can revealed reports of missed referrals, delayed care and cancelled clinics due to patient records not being available or delayed supplies.

Professor Malcolm Grant, NHS England chair, said the directors and their teams has put in a “huge amount of work” to ensure patients were not harmed.

He said: “As you know the board takes this extremely gravely. When we say unacceptable, we mean unacceptable. I think we need to pay tribute to you [Karen Wheeler] and the team for the huge amount of work that has gone into trying to ensure that people aren’t harmed by this at all.”

NHS England awarded Capita the contract for delivering support services in June 2015, when the budget for those services was cut by £40 million in 2013.

A Capita spokesperson told Pulse: “Across all PCSE [Primary Care Support England] services our focus is to ensure that GPs and primary care providers are supported so they can concentrate on patient care. We fully recognise that the administrative services we provide play a key role in supporting primary care providers and ensure that urgent work is always treated as a priority.

“We have openly apologised for the level and varied quality of service we have provided across a number of PCSE services. As NHS England acknowledges, we are working very closely with them, supported by their subject matter experts, to implement step changes to improve current services.”

Capita will soon take over administration of screening programmes and list cleansing, while also looking after GP pensions, payments and the performers list.