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Capita's contract with NHS England a 'shambles', say MPs

Capita apologised for “unacceptable failings" in relation to the delivery of its contract with NHS England
Earlier, the Ministry of Defence reportedly suspended a contract with Capita

Capita PLC (LON:CPI) was dealt another blow on Wednesday after MPs accused the outsourcing company of failing to deliver on key aspects of a contract to perform back-office tasks for NHS England.

A report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the outsourcing of back office tasks to Capita was a “shambles” as thousands of GPs, opticians and dentists had been delayed in treating patients.

There were delays in moving medical records, meaning patients may not have been able to access necessary care and putting them “at risk of serious harm”, the report claimed.

Capita apologises, NHS says contract saved money

Capita, which signed a seven-year contract with the NHS England in 2015, apologised for “unacceptable failings in relation to the initial delivery of this contract” but said it had overcome its teething problems.

"We are now meeting the vast majority of key performance targets, and have put in place a new governance arrangement with NHS England to ensure improvement continues,” a spokesperson for the company said.

An NHS England spokesman said the contract had saved taxpayers £60mln over the past two years. The money has been reinvested in frontline patient care, funding the equivalent of an extra 30,000.

Under the contract, the services Capita provided included: organising payments to GP practices, opticians and pharmacies; administering GPs’ pensions; confirming GPs', dentists' and opticians' qualifications; and sending out letters for those eligible screening.

'A complete mess'

The PAC report said about 87 women were incorrectly notified that they were no longer part of the cervical screening programme.

Doctors also reported problems with the transfer of medical documents as well as issues caused by shortages of stock in the NHS supply chain.

PAC chairwoman Meg Hillier said: "NHS England made a complete mess of what could have been a responsible measure to save taxpayers' money.

"It is clearly unacceptable that poor procurement should put patients at risk of harm and undermine the ability of GPs, dentists, opticians and pharmacists to do their jobs."

The news comes just after Reuters reported that the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) had suspended a contract for Capita to provide firefighting services on military sites.

READ: Capita weak on report UK MoD has suspended military firefighting services contract award

The newswire said the contract suspension was made after Serco PLC (LON:SRP) began a legal challenge to the MoD's decision to choose Capita over its rival for the deal. 

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