The Department of Health has announced a £1.2bn framework for GP Systems of Choice, a scheme that offers central funding for GP clinical IT systems.
The framework will last for two years, with a maximum of 100 suppliers, and aims to provide a range of GP IT systems and related products and services to general practices in the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.
The NHS will not specify requirements for these services and systems. However, there will be minimum standards that all systems and services must meet in order to be offered for use on the framework, said the tender notice.
It follows plans by health secretary Jeremy Hunt to make the NHS paperless by 2018, and all GP patient records digital by 2015.
The first lot in the framework is for GP clinical IT systems and subsidiary modules, worth £770m. This will include mobile clinical applications, decision support, telehealth and data entry forms.
Additional GP IT services will be covered in the second lot worth up to £220m, which includes patient arrival systems, physical device APIs, finance systems, hardware system maintenance and hardware.
The framework also covers cross-care setting interoperable services worth up to £220m and designed to provide a mechanism for pairs or larger groupings of suppliers to demonstrate effective interoperability and to offer a call-off service for local organisations to draw down proven services for local adaptation and use.
Since the reorganisation of the NHS in April, the provision of GP IT services has been given to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), a move which could see doctors’ systems increasingly outsourced to third-party providers.