Outsourcing firm Capita is planning to cut nearly 1,000 jobs once it takes on the £400 million primary care support services contract it won from the NHS.
These plans were revealed as part of NHS England’s discussions with unions ahead of the transfer of personnel to Capita in September.
Almost 80% of the employees in the primary care support services division will lose their jobs and 28 of 30 offices will be shut.
Under the terms of the contract Capita take on back-office services such as payments administration and management of clinical records for NHS primary care providers including GPs, opticians, pharmacists and dentists.
The £400 million contract was tendered through a framework that allowed for deals worth up to £1 billion. The difference in value is because the initial contract only covers NHS England but Capita could stand to earn up to £1 billion if NHS Wales or NHS Scotland agree to join the deal.
The contract will last for seven years with an option to extend for a further three.
NHS England said the deal would create “substantial administrative savings to reinvest in frontline health services, and will form the basis of full consultation with the employees involved”.
Nick Bradley, national officer for Unison, told the Financial Times the job cuts were devastating and put three million patient records at risk. This would be because Capita would be centralising “functions like payments to every GP, pharmacy, dentist and optician in England; responsibility for cancer screening services and all notifications to the public”, he said.
Dr Clive Peedell, leader of the National Health Action Party, also told the Financial Times: “The pursuit of private profit inevitably means staff cuts increasing the welfare bill and reducing spending power in local economies.”
Capita it would not comment until the contract had been finalised.
The contract is the latest in a series of NHS outsourcing deals as part of a drive to save costs.
In May, Capita also won a 10-year, back-office support contract with Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust worth £80 million.