NHS workers have “lost confidence” in Capita after the latest cervical screening “blunder”, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) says.
Responding to new information about administrative errors made in the NHS cervical cancer screening programme, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “This is simply not good enough. Less than a month since we initially heard about this cervical screening error, we are now hearing it is more serious, and has affected thousands more women.”
Prof Stokes-Lampard’s comments follow the news that an additional 3,591 items of correspondence were not sent as a result of errors by Capita. Last month, it emerged that 47,708 women did not receive a smear test invitation, reminder or results from Capita between January and June 2018.
The latest discovery emerged during a thorough review of correspondence sent by Capita prior to this year. As was the case with failures in 2018, the correct process for uploading, organising and checking datafiles was not properly followed - resulting in 3,591 items of correspondence not being sent in 2017.
"Capita has been shown time and time again to be unable to deliver on the work it has been contracted to do in the NHS. This is completely unacceptable - people working throughout the NHS have lost all confidence in Capita, and it really is time for NHS England to reconsider its contract with them,” Prof Stokes-Lampard said.
"Cervical screening is a successful national programme that has potentially saved thousands of lives, yet take up especially among younger women, is falling. We should be doing our utmost to encourage more to have smear tests but errors, such as this, will only serve to further damage women's confidence in the programme,” she said.