NHS England’s outsourcing of primary care support services to Capita led to ‘"a short-sighted rush to achieve savings, heedless of the impact on patients or practitioners", the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee says in a highly critical report published on July 25.

"NHS England paid only lip service to engagement with doctors, dentists, opticians and pharmacists on service changes", said the PAC, and "neither NHS England nor Capita properly understood the scale of the challenge before agreeing the contract".

To achieve cost saving objectives Capita closed 35 of the 38 support offices it inherited between December 2015 and November 2016. The office closures resulted in the loss of local expertise and meant that Capita did not have the resources needed to deliver the services required.

In evidence to the PAC, PSNC said that community pharmacies had experienced problems with the delivery of controlled NHS stationery. The major problem, which still continues, concerns market entry - applying to open, transfer ownership or relocate a community pharmacy. In early 2017, community pharmacies had also had problems obtaining payments for pre-registration training graduates.

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