MPs publish report on NHS England’s contract with Capita

MPs publish report on NHS England’s contract with Capita

August 2, 2018

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published a report on NHS England’s outsourcing of the Primary Care Services England (PCSE) contract to private firm Capita, recognising a number of problems with the services delivered to pharmacies and other healthcare providers.

In August 2015, NHS England entered into a £330m seven-year contract with Capita, which aimed to provide administrative support in processing payments, ordering supplies and moving medical records for 39,000 GPs, dentists, opticians and pharmacists. The PAC, a cross-party group of MPs who oversee Government spending, held an inquiry into PCSE services provided by Capita and PSNC gave evidence to that inquiry, highlighting the problems that had been experienced by community pharmacy teams and the additional workload this caused.

The Committee’s report on the inquiry states that service failures following the outsourcing of the contract were disruptive to thousands of primary care practitioners and put patients at risk of serious harm. It also requires NHS England to report back to the Committee in January 2019 on a number of aspects, including what has been done to compensate primary care practitioners for any disruption.

PSNC first raised concerns about the pharmacy services provided by Capita in a letter sent to NHS England in 2016 and subsequently fed into an investigation by the National Audit Office using evidence gathered from community pharmacy contractors and LPCs. We welcomed the PAC’s decision to hold an inquiry and submitted written evidence to highlight the additional workload that community pharmacy teams have had to endure whilst seeking to ensure improvements for the future. PSNC has worked, and continues to work, with both Capita and NHS England to address these issues.

Read PSNC’s submission to the PAC inquiry.

The inquiry report by the PAC recommends that NHS England:

  • Assess the likely impact on users of a service before outsourcing;
  • Outline how it will make improvements to its future contracting;
  • Ensure that basics, such as appropriate mechanisms to intervene in service changes if they do not go as planned, are part of any contract;
  • Describe what has been done to compensate primary care practitioners for the disruption to PCSE services;
  • Update the Committee on whether there is any evidence of harm to patients; and
  • Report on whether changes to their partnership working has improved the relationship with Capita, and whether they have agreed outstanding areas of difference.

Read the PAC’s report on NHS England’s contract with Capita in full.

Gordon Hockey, PSNC Director of Operations and Support, said:

“We welcome the Public Accounts Committee’s report which recognises the significant disruption that Capita’s failures caused to community pharmacists as well as other primary care practitioners. The report goes on to request that NHS England outline details of the compensation provided to those affected and we look forward to hearing the Committee’s opinion on whether this has been adequate.

It is also interesting to note that the Committee highlighted NHS England’s lack of engagement with users of the service; we hope that lessons will be learnt from this as PCSE services to pharmacies continue to develop. PSNC continues to work with contractors, LPCs, NHS England and Capita to ensure that improvements to the service continue.”


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