Capita’s services to pharmacies are now ‘stable’, the outsourcing company has said.

In 2015, NHS England signed a seven-year contract worth £330m with Capita to deliver primary care support England (PCSE) services and save 35% of costs.

But this year, an investigation by Government auditors the National Audit Office (NAO) revealed that these services had the potential to ‘seriously harm patients’.

A Capita spokesperson told The Pharmacist it is ‘now meeting the vast majority of key performance targets, and our services to pharmacies are stable’.


‘Unacceptable failings’


Capita said: ‘Capita has apologised for unacceptable failings in relation to the initial delivery of this contract.

‘We have put in place a new governance arrangement with NHS England to ensure improvement continues, and are working to maintain good relationships with community pharmacists.

‘Capita is committed to delivering this contract and its vital purpose: digital transformation for NHS support services that were previously paper-based, fragmented and without national standards.

‘We are focussed on delivering a 21st century digital service that works for NHS practitioners.’


‘A shambles’


Yesterday (25 July), Government auditors the Public Account Committee (PAC) published a report saying that NHS England’s outsourcing of PCSE services to Capita was a ‘shambles’ and had ‘disrupted thousands of pharmacists’.

NHS England argued that the move ‘successfully’ saved taxpayers £60m over the past two years, which it said were reinvested in frontline NHS patient care, funding the equivalent of an extra 30,000 operations.

A spokesperson for the commissioning body told The Pharmacist: ‘We will continue to work with medical professionals and Capita to resolve the historic issues which this look-back report reviews.’

Commenting on the report, PAC chair Meg Hillier said: ‘NHS England made a complete mess of what could have been a responsible measure to save taxpayers’ money.

‘It’s 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.

‘NHS England needs to rethink its approach to outsourcing and invest time in getting its contracts right.’