Capita Condemned For 'Widespread Failures' In Delivering NHS Backup Services

Capita Condemned For 'Widespread Failures' In Delivering NHS Backup Services

NHS England has also been approached for comment.

"The failure to update performers lists may have compromised patient safety in cases where practitioners should have been removed", the authors of the report said.

"NHS England and Capita misunderstood the risks in outsourcing primary care services, resulting in services to 39,000 Global Positioning System, dentists, opticians and pharmacists that were a long way below an acceptable standard", the NAO concluded in its report published today (May 17).

"This was the first time the NHS in England had ever centrally contracted these services", they said.

"We hope that this report drives home how unacceptable the service level has been and forms the catalyst for significant improvements for our members as well as the patients who are being put at risk", Dr Hampson concluded.

After a series of failings with its primary care services in 2016-17 - which included pharmacy owners dealing with late payments for enhanced services, delayed paperwork relating to pharmacy ownership changes, and delayed pre-registration payments - the National Audit Office (NAO) launched an investigation into the management of NHS England's contract with Capita.

The contract was agreed in 2015 with the aim of reducing primary care support service costs by 35 per cent.

NAO head Amyas Morse said: "Neither NHS England nor Capita fully understood the complexity and variation of the services being outsourced".

"As a result, both parties misjudged the scale and nature of the risk in outsourcing these services", he shared.

The public body was, for example, "contractually unable to stop Capita's aggressive [primary care support] office closure programme, even though it was having a harmful impact on service delivery".

'Today NHS primary care providers across England are still smarting due to their reckless and wholly unnecessary choices'.

The NAO acknowledged that Capita's self-reported performance had improved.

Although the mistakes did not result in any harm, they will raise further concerns about the NHS's cancer screening.

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said trying to cut costs while modernising the service was "over-ambitious, disruptive for thousands of doctors, dentists, opticians and pharmacists and potentially put patients at risk of serious harm".

Capita proposed an overall reduction in staff numbers and expected to make a loss of £64m in the first two years of the contract, which it planned to recoup in later years.

The NAO added that NHS England should consider whether the services should be taken back in-house. "This £60m in lower administrative cost has all been successfully reinvested in frontline NHS patient care, and has helped fund the equivalent of an extra 30,000 operations".

"The report notes that several organisations and legacy issues all contributed to underperformance".

"PSNC wrote to NHS England in July 2016 expressing its dismay at Capita's services and seeking remedial action; at that point we had many reports of services operating at well below acceptable standards, and this is echoed by the NAO report".

The report said Capita "acknowledges that it made performance issues worse" when it continued to close support offices in the summer of 2016 "even though it was aware" its customer service centre "was struggling to meet demand".

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