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After more than a year on the sidelines of the national programme for IT (NPfIT) in the NHS, Emis has signed an agreement with CSC, one of the scheme's local service providers.
The deal means GPs can take an Emis-based service from local service providers that will run the supplier's systems from local or regional datacentres.
The health minister John Hutton also announced last week that GP systems would now be offered to practices nationwide, provided the supplier has a contract with an NPfIT local service provider and can demonstrate interoperability with the NPfIT systems.
Hutton also required a sound business case to be made and that the systems are hosted in a datacentre. "GPs have told us they want a wider choice of systems and I am pleased we can deliver this," the minister said.
Manpreet Pujara, head of the Emis User Group, said, "It is a step in the right direction. We want to get on with using the systems we have got because they are functionally rich. The government has seen the light."
Some GPs remain concerned about hosting systems at a datacentre. And Hutton's announcement will not end a boycott of NPfIT systems by GPs who are concerned whether patient records held on systems centrally or regionally will be confidential.