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MPs blast NHS England for contract ‘shambles’ with Capita

How is NHS performing when outsourcing services?


MPs have described NHS England’s outsourcing of primary care support services to Capita as ‘a shambles’.


The arm’s-length body entered into a seven-year, £330m contract with Capita in 2015 to deliver the services, now known as Primary Care Support England. The outsourcing firm’s bid depended on it closing local primary care support offices and delivering a major transformation to meet NHS England’s objective to reduce costs. Between December 2015 and November 2016, Capita closed 35 of 38 offices across England.


A Public Accounts Committee report states there was a ‘short-sighted rush to achieve savings’ that ‘paid no heed to impact on patients or practitioners’. NHS England ‘rushed’ to cut a third of the £90m cost of providing the services but did not take into account the affect it would have on 39,000 GPs, dentists, opticians and pharmacists.


MPs say that service failures following the outsourcing put patients at risk of serious harm.


They add that neither NHS England nor Capita understood the service that was being outsourced, and both misjudged the scale and nature of the risks. NHS England focused on maximising financial savings quickly, at the expense of service quality. Performance indicators used for measuring Capita’s performance were focused on speed and efficiency, rather than providing a quality service.


Further information

Parliament: NHS England must rethink outsourcing after contract shambles

Website: Primary Care Support England

Wilmington: Capita’s delivery of primary care support services unacceptable, says NAO