In light of NAO report, how can primary care services return to acceptable level?
A National Audit Office (NAO) report says that it is deeply unsatisfactory that a seven year, £330m contract between Capita and NHS England is still not working effectively.
The contract, entered into in August 2015, aimed to save 35% of costs, but by May 2016 primary care providers raised concerns about failures, such as delays in transferring medical records.
NAO’s report states that In December 2016 NHS England said Capita had failed to deliver key aspects of the service, putting primary care services and patients at risk.
NHS England was unable to stop Capita’s aggressive office closure programme even though it was having a harmful impact on service delivery, adds the report, NHS England’s management of the primary care support services contract with Capita.
Both parties misjudged the scale and nature of the risk in outsourcing these services, says the report. Neither fully understood the complexity and variation of the services being outsourced.
The standard of delivery of services had the potential to seriously harm patients, although no actual harm has been identified, the report adds.
Although money had been saved, value for money is not just about cost reduction, says the NAO, and NHS England must address the failures if it to achieve the service improvements it intended as well as the savings.