Patient confidentiality may be put at risk from the government’s decision to hand millions of medical records to a private company, warns Unison.
Unison has written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, urging him reconsider his decision to award the £1bn primary care support contract to Capita. Mr Hunt has so far failed to respond.
The contract gives Capita responsibility for handling millions of patients’ medical records, and other administrative systems within the NHS.
Primary care support services staff currently look after medical records, prescription payments and the administrative and financial support to GPs. These people face the prospect of losing their jobs when Capita take over in England from 1 September and offices are closed, says Unison.
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:
“Millions of patients’ medical records are now to be handed over to a private firm, without any public consultation whatsoever.
“And hundreds of dedicated NHS staff – whose work is essential to the efficient running of the health service, will lose their jobs.
“Private companies should not be making a mint out of essential services that are the very backbone of the NHS. Local knowledge will be lost as Capita closes all but two of the existing regional offices.
“It is hardly in the spirit of patient consultation that this entire process has taken place behind closed doors, with the public none the wiser and employees affected largely kept in the dark.
“Private companies have a poor track record when it comes to promising huge benefits and savings from technology driven solutions in the NHS.
“With so much confidential and highly personal information at stake, the government must keep a close eye on the progress of this huge contract.”