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Contractors owed 'nearly £60k' in pre-reg grants from Capita

Capita: We are aware of "some isolated issues”

Contractors in the Avicenna pharmacy group are owed around £59,000 in grant payments for hosting pre-registration trainees, its CEO has said.

These pharmacy owners are still waiting for £35,000-worth of payments relating to a total of eight pre-reg pharmacists they took on last year, plus £24,000 for three trainees recruited this year, Salim Jetha told C+D last week (March 2).

Contractors can apply for an annual grant from NHS England for up to £18,440 for every pre-reg taken on, to help cover the costs of training. Service supplier Capita took on responsibility for delivering NHS England’s primary care support services in September 2015, including overseeing the pre-reg training grants.

Mr Jetha added that his own pharmacy – Lewis Grove Pharmacy in Lewisham – is also owed thousands of pounds, and he has not received a pre-reg payment since last September.

The CEO of a London local pharmaceutical committee (LPC), who did not want to be named, said several contractors in his area had raised similar concerns about overdue pre-reg payments, with one reported to be waiting for £24,000.

“The issue has been gradually escalating since October last year,” the LPC CEO said. The ongoing issue is putting contractors in a “very difficult position”, as they are already facing cash flow problems due to the funding cuts across England, they stressed.

One commenter on the C+D website described Capita’s payments process as a “scandal”.

Capita responds

In response to the complaints, a Capita spokesperson told C+D yesterday (March 7) that the company is aware of “some isolated issues” and that all claims that meet “the required checks” have been backdated, as will any further claims.

The spokesperson claimed one of the "key improvements" under Capita has been the introduction of a "centralised" process for dealing with primary care.

The old system was localised, meaning grant claims “came in from various sources on an ad hoc and irregular basis”, the spokesperson added.

The LPC CEO said they had managed to make “some progress” on behalf of “at least two or three” contractors, by liaising with both NHS England and Capita.

However, Mr Jetha's most recent attempt to contact Capita – an email sent at the end of February – bounced back because the inbox was full, he said.

“It’s crazy – they’re not even looking at their emails. They don’t give you a phone number. Who are you supposed to talk to? If the email inbox is full, what are you supposed to do?”

Mr Jetha said in his experience, the process for claiming pre-reg grants has become worse since Capita took over.

“[Under the old system,] the first payment normally came one or two months [after the grant application was submitted], which is understandable, and then it came monthly. Now, it comes abruptly. They’re not systematic,” he stressed.

NHS England was not available for comment.

Are you experiencing delays to pre-reg training grants?

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Don't worry... the PSNC will stand on the sidelines and grumble about how 'incomprehensible' this is.

Sharon Stone, Communications

Their response is just standard company Bull***t , be it them, Boots, Lloyds etc etc that everyone is just sickened by nowadays . It such a shame there seems is no sincerity or integrity left anymore .

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

We have not been paid since August. After lodging a complaint to Capita in Dec and chasing them regularly, I was told last week that I will be paid on 1st April. I am not holding my breath, may be April Fools joke

Mo Ihsan, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Hi Uma. Do you have an email or other contact for whom to complain to within Capita. I've hit a dead end along all the avenues I've took to try to get back whats owing to us for pre-reg and ETP allowance payments.

Gursaran Matharu, Community pharmacist

This is yet another example of poor commissioning by NHS England, there is considerable loss of expertise within the NHS which is further compounded by the loss of the corporate memory and premesis from the NHS. The private provicder is invariably chosen because of the low cost and then cannot provide the service within the SLA. By this time the NHS does not have the resource to performance manage the provider. Who ends up as the loser; community pharmacy! Is this what the Prime Minster means by reform?

C&D should also look at the other payments e.g.PURM and they will find a similar story.

I have written to DH, David Mowat, his oppsite number in Labour and my local MP, to date no answer! So please do not listen to the rehetoric and concenrate on developing private clinical and other services in your pharmacy. 

They do NOT care about community pharmacy! Is the message coming from DH.

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