NHS England officials have been forced to overrule Capita over a serious issue related to a member of NHS staff.
The private contractor had informed a GP that he should stop working indefinitely.
But the cause of this was simply his performers list application being stuck in an administrative backlog.
Processing such applications has potentially placed Capita in legal jeopardy, and could cause significant confusion and consternation for doctors in the future, according to the BMA.
Capita has already spoken publicly on the issue, indicating its policy that employees must adhere to standard NHS England procedures when addressing GPs.
And NHS England has indicated that it has acquired its own experts to resolve problems at the performers list service.
Clearly there is a complex system in place with significant room for improvement, and thus Capita is currently developing a new, standardised process for this critical aspect of GP registration.
Guidance issued by the BMA indicated that GP trainees have three months from the start of the specialty training program to be added to the performers list, and cannot legally conduct medical services beyond this window if they do not appear on the list.
This is naturally of significant concern, and GP leaders have warned of serious implications for both trainees and surgeries where applications are not being processed satisfactorily.
Many in the medical profession will undoubtedly be scathing of this administrative anomaly.
And GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey indicated that the BMA is not even fully aware of the true extent of the backlog.
Vautrey also acknowledged that it is completely unacceptable for any GP to be forced to stop work through no fault of their own.
A Capita spokeswoman was keen to point out that the company has reviewed its internal processes in an attempt to address the situation.
“We have reviewed the number of applications that require urgent processing and these, with NHS England’s expertise and support, are our priority. Capita and the PCSE team have openly apologised to service users who have not received the consistent level of service quality that they should expect or that we would expect to provide. The guidance provided to the customer support team is in line with the standard operating procedures of NHS England and we expect all of our call handlers to adhere to the guidance when speaking to GPs”.
Responding to the issue, an NHS England spokeswoman indicated that there is an ongoing dialogue between the government and Capita.
“Capita had made us aware of a number of issues involving the performers list process. We have taken immediate action to bring in a team of NHS England experts to work alongside Capita to resolve the issues. We are now identifying all cases which may be affected, these are being investigated urgently and prioritised and we will be putting steps in place to ensure that any new applications are processed correctly and within the proper timeframes”.
Capita has faced criticism over its handling of PCSE services, with the BMA warning earlier this month that problems with the service were needlessly putting patients at risk.