A major publication in Scotland is suggesting that the way registered patients are dealt with in the nation should be altered significantly.
Scottish GP practices have been advised that it may be easier to ask English GP practices directly for the records of newly registered patients who have moved from England.
The advice is contained in Glasgow LMC’s latest newsletter.
According to the Glasgow LMC, the outsourcing of primary care support services to Capita has resulted in significant delays.
NHS England had recently taken this decision as a cost-cutting measure, but it would seem to be unsustainable in the longer term.
Already there have been workload implications, and now Glasgow LMC believes that both Scottish and English doctors should change their approach in order to acknowledge some of the logistical issues involved.
According to the newsletter, Scottish primary care support services have become aware of problems and are currently “liaising with Capita and NHS England to improve the situation and reduce delays”.
Clearly the current situation is not ideal, but in the new advice is designed to ensure that the registration of patients gets back on track in the NHS.
Glasgow LMC reflected on the problems which have emanated from the Capita arrangement in the newsletter, stating that Scottish GPs should pay heed to the issue.
“Due to the problems with the transfer of the service to the new provider and performance issues, there have been significant delays in GP practices receiving the physical GP paper records for patient who have come from England. GPs who require information patient urgently can contact the patient’s former practice and ask for information to be sent electronically by secure email to the practice’s NHSmail generic clinical mailbox.”
The involvement of Capita in the health service can be considered somewhat controversial, as private security companies have made mistakes in other public sector operations previously.
Capita has revenue in the region of £4.5 billion, and its contract with NHS England has also been criticised for providing a wealthy private sector body with further income effectively generated by taxpayers.
And the company has also temporally paused collection of patient records in England, owing to problems within the company, and this has led to a backlog in registration across the nation.
Commenting on the issue, GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt reflected that the registration problem could cause serious logistical issues in the health service if not tackled effectively.
“Due to problems with the outsourcing of NHS England’s records and payments services, there have been delays for practices in Scotland when requesting patient records for new patients moving from England. Where the information has been required urgently, practices have been contacting the former practice directly, but this is not a sustainable situation as practices across Scotland are already dealing with significant workload pressures.”