The Information Commissioner is to launch a major inquiry into the NHS patients records system, after evidence emerged that the transfer of notes around the UK has gone awry.
Healthcare practices across the UK have stated that incorrect patient records have been forwarded to them, and the General Practitioners Committee has raised governance issues to assess the cause of the issue.
One particular report indicated that patient records were, rather inappropriately, found in a car park.
This latest incident noticeably follows on the back of reports of systematic failure of the recently privatised primary care support service.
Capita took responsibility for this aspect of the healthcare system back in September last year, with the intention of cutting costs by 40%.
NHS England has conceded that there are teething troubles caused by issues related to the transitioning to a new system.
Capita had hired CitySprint, a courier service, to deal with patient records since February, with the company sealing patient records in plastic bags for delivery.
A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office commented that the lines of communication regarding the issue have been opened, and that an investigation was underway.
“The ICO has been made aware of concerns around the process for moving GP patient records within England, and is making enquiries.”
Capita has indicated in a statement that it is presently assessing its procedures in order to ensure that operations are tightened up.
“Capita are in the process of delivering a range of changes to primary care support services which are designed to make services more efficient, more reliable and ultimately better for GP practices. We will continue to work closely to monitor, review progress and investigate any issues raised by users… reported issues are routinely logged and investigated to determine root causes and the appropriate remedial action in line with NHS England information governance procedures.”
The company also emphasised that it has stringent security procedures in place to mitigate against a breach of patient data, and that the recent news should not be considered a cause for alarm.
Capita particularly noted that all of its “courier service staff have mandatory ID and nothing should be handed over unless ID is presented. We take information governance very seriously. Any issues reported to us or NHS England would be investigated in accordance with NHS England’s information governance process.”
CitySprint has indicated that it is working closely with Capita in an attempt to resolve the problem.