Do tors question privatisation – no confidence in contractor Capita

Oh Lord, government says it is “holding Capita’s feet to the fire”. Would that be the same fire that MP Neil Parish said he was holding the CCG’s feet to, just before Honiton and Seaton hospitals closed?

Not much of a fire, feet rather a long way from it.

“Doctors raise alarm about controversial private company’s plans to overhaul cancer screening

GP representatives have raised concerns about the potential risk of delayed or missed cancer diagnosis from a new IT service being developed to administer smear testing for cervical cancer.

The British Medical Association’s GP Committee (GPC) has written to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens to highlight the continued failures in key back-office functions from paying doctors to registering patients.

The problems all relate to a major contract for primary care “support services” that are essential to the day-to-day running of GP practices, dentists, opticians and pharmacists.

NHS England decided to contract for a single national supplier and awarded a contract to outsourcing giant Capita, starting in September 2015.

The BMA letter says major problems have persisted since NHS England commissioned the service two years ago, changes the letter says are “putting patients at risk”.

But it warns there are more changes planned for next year.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey writes: “We understand that new systems for both cervical screening and GP payments and pensions are due to go live in July of next year.

“We are very concerned that preparations are not sufficiently advanced at this stage of the projects to guarantee a seamless transfer to the new service.”

“We have no confidence in Capita’s ability to deliver this service,” the letter adds.

A spokesperson for Capita told The Independent that a final date had not been set, but did confirm that a July deadline has been discussed.

They added that the new service was being developed alongside NHS England, NHS Digital and Public Health England.

Capita’s support services website shows it is responsible for updating and operating key elements of the National Cervical Screening Programme.

The programme invites women aged 25 and 64 years for a routine smear test every three years, and health chiefs warned earlier this year that screening uptake had hit a 19-year low. …

… A Capita spokesperson said: “This is a major transformation project to modernise a localised and unstandardised service, which inevitably has meant some challenges.

“This letter does not accurately reflect our involvement and responsibilities in PCSE, nor does it reflect our recent correspondence from NHS England who have recognised the improvements and significant progress being made across services in 2017, which has been demonstrated through improved and increasing customer satisfaction.

NHS England said: “We are holding Capita’s ‘feet to the fire’ on needed improvements”.