A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has identified failings on the part of NHSE when it awarded a £330 million, seven-year contract to outsourcing giant Capita to supply primary care support services. Subsequently, Capita made aggressive cuts to the numbers of support staff from 1,314 to 314, so reducing costs by 69% but also loosing important local expertise.
The NAO found that NHSE was over-ambitious and had not understood the complexity and variation of primary care support services well enough to set achievable service specifications or performance standards. It misjudged the risks involved. Capita’s failings included creating shortages of medical and other supplies, delayed payments and loss of earnings for many GPs, dentists, opticians and pharmacists and serious problems with patient record transfers: patients were put at significant risk. The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for NHSE to bring primary care support services back in-house.