Capita criticised after patient records mistakenly archived

The chair of the GP committee at the British Medical Association has hit out at Capita after patient records were mistakenly archived rather than transferred to surgeries from the Primary Care Support England (PCSE) programme.

NHS England has written to GP practices to inform them of 160,000 patient records, with Capita saying 30,000 of those instances’ pre-date its contract.

A spokesperson from NHS England said: “There is no evidence to suggest that any patient has come to any harm as a result of this issue and Capita is now delivering any delayed patient records to the correct GP practices as quickly as possible, with the majority of correspondence returned.”

Responding, Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said: “160,000 patients’ records wrongly archived rather than forwarded to practices is just the latest major error and while it is shocking we cannot say we are surprised. Capita has consistently proved itself unfit to hold this contract. NHS England has at last listened to the BMA and now plans to bring cervical smear administration back-in house, and with this latest blunder they now must urgently do the same for all of these services.

“And while NHS England tells us that they do not believe any patients have come to any harm, this assertation is based on a sample from just one area of the country, which may not be enough to back up such claims. Patients cannot be allowed to be put at risk because of the incompetence of one supplier, and NHS England must offer support to anyone affected.

“Even if no patient has been harmed, we find ourselves having the same conversations about a new Capita failing, and it is completely unacceptable that this is being allowed to happen again.

“Ultimately, it will be GP practices, already under-pressure from heavy workloads, to bear the brunt of sorting out the mess left behind by Capita, and NHS England must ensure surgeries also receive the support and resources needed to do so.”

Capita apologised for any patients and practices affected. A spokesperson from the company said:  “A number of paper medical records were not redirected by PCSE when patients moved to new GP practices. There is no indication that any harm has occurred to any patients as a result of the paper records delay.

“Patients’ electronic records have not been affected.

“We are working to deliver these physical records as quickly as possible and have taken steps ensure this does not happen again. We apologise to any patients and GP practices affected.”

PCSE has been approached for comment but have so far yet to respond.

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