Latest Capita scandal reveals 160,000 records wrongly archived

21 May 2019

NHS England has admitted that 160,000 patients’ records were wrongly archived rather than forwarded to GP practices, in the latest major error from the service outsourced to Capita.

Just months after the company was stripped of a contract to run NHS cervical screening, following a failure to send either invitations or reminders about screening to thousands of women, it has now been revealed that 160,000 patient records were mistakenly archived by Capita rather than following patients when they moved between practices.

According to the British Medical Association (BMA), NHS England wrote to GP practices across England admitting the mistake by Primary Care Support England (PCSE), the service outsourced to Capita in 2015 as part of a cost-saving drive.

BMA GP Committee (GPC) Chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: “Capita has presided over a litany of failings since it took charge of backroom support for GP services almost four years ago, from issues with payments to practices, to the very serious error that came to light last year, when tens of thousands of patients were left without important correspondence about cervical screening.”

He added: “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.”

In response, a Capita spokesperson 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.”