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​Dentists call for primary care services contract to be taken from Capita

6 February 2018


The British Dental Association has today urged government to take NHS primary care support services away from troubled subcontractor Capita.


In a letter to NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens dentist leaders have called on Government to think beyond simple contingency planning, and make a decisive break in light of Capita's dismal long-term performance.


NHS dentists have been unable to work – in some cases for up to a year – owing to issues getting the 'National Performer Number', which is required to provide NHS services. Services to patients have therefore been affected by dentists being unable to work. Administration of the National Performers List used to be managed by NHS England, but was contracted out to Capita alongside other Primary Care Support services in September 2015. Before Capita won the contract the average application turnaround time was approximately six weeks.


Despite pledges to deliver compensation payments to dentists affected, practitioners have faced unexplained delays of up to four months in receiving payments. The BDA is aware of NHS practices that are risking closure as a direct result of this failure, and practitioners have been unable to meet housing and other living costs.


GPs and optometrists facing similar challenges have also raised concerns.


BDA Chair of General Dental Practice Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen said:


"We have reached the stage where we can no longer ask NHS England to seek greater efficiencies from Capita or make contingency plans. Continuity of care now requires that these contracts are taken back in-house by the NHS, so dentists can get back to work.


"This isn't a request to plan for what ifs, but to act on facts. Capita has demonstrably failed, and our members should not have to suffer as a result of its grotesque mismanagement.  The financial impact on some of our members is now reaching critical levels, and the fact that compensation for past failures is not being delivered only adds insult to injury.


"Paperwork that once took six weeks to process is to taking up to a year. Patients are suffering. Systems critical to delivery of care have been contracted out for no gain, and our profession should not have to keep paying the price."


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