Care Pathways

13.12.18

‘We have lost all confidence’: Number of women affected by Capita cancer screening scandal rises above 50,000

Even more women have been affected by Capita’s cervical screening programme scandal than previously thought.

NHS England has admitted that a further 3,591 women were caught up in the administrative blunder, bringing the total number to over 50,000.

Today’s news follows revelations in November that the outsourcing giant had failed to send more than 48,000 pieces of correspondence to women who had had cervical cancer screenings after a system error. Some of these letters even related to abnormal test results, but NHS England claims that there is no current evidence of any harm occurring as a result of the mistake.

However, responding to the latest news, RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard argued that people working throughout the NHS have “lost all confidence” in Capita and called on NHS England to reconsider its contract with the private firm.

“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,” said Prof Stokes-Lampard.

“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.

“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.”

A day after it was revealed that thousands of letters had not been sent out, NHS England announced a major overhaul of its cancer screening programmes.

The ongoing review, led by Professor Sir Mike Richards, will look into possible changes to the currently outsourced contract, which could include the possibility of bringing the programme back in-house.

A spokesman for Capita apologised for the latest blunder, which came to light after an ongoing clinical investigation uncovered even more correspondence from last year that was not sent. The firm blamed human error for the system of “uploading, organising and checking” not being followed but said disciplinary action would be taken.

Yet BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey claimed this was not an isolated incident, instead calling it “the latest in a long line of failures since Capita took over a number of GP services in 2015.”

“And yet, NHS England have not demonstrated to the profession that they are serious at addressing what ultimately they are responsible for,” added Dr Vautrey. “We therefore repeat our demand that NHS England strip the company of its contract and return this service to an in-house delivered activity that can regain the confidence of practices and patients.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Glasgow hospital design to be reviewed after post-mortem links child’s death to pigeon infection

23/01/2019Glasgow hospital design to be reviewed after post-mortem links child’s death to pigeon infection

The Scottish health minister has ordered a review of the design of Glasgow’s flagship Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) after an i... more >
Outgoing NHS digital chief wrote ‘puff piece’ for future employer in ‘jaw-droppingly inappropriate’ behaviour

23/01/2019Outgoing NHS digital chief wrote ‘puff piece’ for future employer in ‘jaw-droppingly inappropriate’ behaviour

NHS England’s outgoing chief digital officer has been criticised for “jaw-droppingly inappropriate” behaviour after she announc... more >
Spending on agency staff has ‘increased markedly’ by 171% to cover vacancies across Welsh NHS

23/01/2019Spending on agency staff has ‘increased markedly’ by 171% to cover vacancies across Welsh NHS

NHS spending on agency staff in Wales has risen 171% in the last seven years, the majority of which is spent by the health service to provide cov... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Gentleness: an underrated quality in effective leadership

14/01/2019Gentleness: an underrated quality in effective leadership

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ returns to write for NHE for his blog series on effective leadership. “It is not in your top three, Dean…” The difficulty in asking for feedback is that sometimes, occasionally,... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Sneak a peek into the world of risk

19/12/2018Sneak a peek into the world of risk

The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) asked its members what working in risk is really like and what hints and tips they’d share with peop... more >
The NHS Assembly: A moment to reset

19/12/2018The NHS Assembly: A moment to reset

The development of the NHS long-term plan offers a reset moment: a chance to develop a credible, sector-owned blueprint designed to improve care ... more >
NHS Supply Chain: Driving the way forward

19/12/2018NHS Supply Chain: Driving the way forward

Jin Sahota spent two years at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) establishing the future operating model for the new NHS Supply Chai... more >
Leading the way: The Translational Research Collaboration for Mental Health

19/12/2018Leading the way: The Translational Research Collaboration for Mental Health

Professor John Geddes, director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, introduces the new... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >

health service focus

View all News