Don’t the NHS ever learn?

Tripping over

Why do NHS big wigs keep on contracting the same old companies?  If they do a bad job, sure as eggs-is-eggs the company will be awarded with another massive contract, yet they haven’t learnt – recently Carillion landed them in trouble – now it’s C(r)apita.

Talk about going from the proverbial frying pan into the fire!  I move from London – where C(r)apita managed to cause me endless problems with sending my appointment letters to a fictitious address, causing me to have to go privately for important treatment (I did get reimbursed, but it took 6 months) only to find they run the local District Council.  Their call centre managed to give me the wrong phone numhers (to an area 80 miles away!) to losing vital papers when applying for disabled badges, benefits etc.  They’ve finally been sacked,but WHY does Whitehall still contract them?

Capita, having done rubbish jobs with numerous NHS contracts they were given, are in trouble – again.  The company has fingers in so many pies: they were the company hounding those of us who had paid our TV dues – then kept on threatening us with debt collectors, saying we hadn’t paid. They were hauled before MPs and rightly dressed down – that didn’t seem to worry them,  there were lots more NHS contracts up for grabs.  Guess what – I have a TV licence but the first letter to reach me when I move into my new home is demand saying there is no record of me owning a TV licence.

Capita Business Services‘ shambolic £700m Primary Care Support contract with NHS England will at last be scrutinised by the National Audit Office amid “ongoing issues” with service delivery.  Yet when I joke about them with my new GP, he rolls his eyes – his surgery was one of those whose records were messed up by them. In 2015. Capita committed to provide support services to 8,000 GPs across the country for £70m; and the problems  started.  So now you know why it’s so difficult to get through to a doctor.

Private Eye used to refer to them as C(r)APITA,  because it made so many mistakes providing appalling service for Government contracts across England.  Somehow it has become a favourite to be awarded contracts, especially in the NHS. I wonder why?

Google ‘Capita Problems‘ and you find Government agencies from the Police to Birmingham City Council reported major problems with this company, on contracts which ran into millions.  In Oxfordshire locals calling their district Council have been told to call a Dorset number instead of Dorchester-on-Thames – there is a town of same name in this country, and Crapita staff don’t know the difference.  But no-one seems to care;  after all, it’s only our money that pays this company and gets wasted, so why should they worry.

Proving you can’t keep a not-so-good company down, here they are in the news again.   I was a ‘victim’ of their Licence ‘dept’ when I suddenly started to get letters demanding I pay up for my annual TV fee, which had already been paid.

After threatening letters, saying they would be sending in the debt collectors, and them ignoring my phone calls, I contacted my local MP.  Only to find that he had had so many similar complaints he had tasked a member of staff to deal with them.

He finally got me a letter from them, grudgingly admitting that I didn’t need to pay any more – but no apology!

C-apita is ‘big’ in the NHS. 

Previously our local hospital had terrible problems with them, but we were not alone. If you want to see how far their influence spreads, go to http://www.capita.com/media/1502/capita-services-to-the-health-sector.pdf

And see how massive is their presence in the NHS.

Notwithstanding all the problems this company gave the NHS in the past, recently the NHS awarded them another contract!  This time C-apita  managed to muck up a perfectly good system that GPs relied upon, and got into trouble with the General Practitioners’ Committee of the British Medical Association. Their Chair, Chaand Nagpaul, had to write a strongly-worded letter to NHS England (who had awarded them their latest contract).

In it he said they were concerned with the failure of their services including urgent files not collected, running out of essential supplies – even down to prescription form pads and syringes – and, what a surprise, C-apita’s Support Centre where surgeries are supposed to phone to get help with problems, wasn’t answering their phones!

You will be pleased to know that some surgeries managed to reach this Support Centre after being on hold for 30 – 40 minutes.  Now we know why can’t get through to our GP’s surgery;  all the staff are holding on, trying to find out what has happened to our urgent files.

Update

I’ve recently moved to South Oxfordshire.  And guess what?  C-apita run the admin for my local council.  Two important phone calls this week, asking how I access a) transport for disabled, and b) Community Alarm, produced a helpful person each time who both gave me a phone number to call – both turned out to be for numbers in a Council in Dorset (apparently C-apita runs them too).

Trying to get correct numbers, I asked my new GP what tel. nos. were.  As soon as I mentioned C-apita, he rolled his eyes; apparently his surgery was one of those that have had enormous problems with them.

I did complain to my new MP, but nothing has happened.

What’s happening?

No longer does it seem you have to do a good job to get awarded contracts;  if you find problems at your local hospital, and it’s because this company has been awarded the contract to provide the service, my suggestion is to write to your MP and demand answers.  Bet you a lot of hospital staff would like to know the answers.

But the whole question of outsourcing to save money on admin doesn’t seem to take in to account how efficient this is. So which hospital or Government department will be the next one to employ C-apita?  

You couldn’t make it up if you tried.

 

 

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