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NHS Digital plans for £450m GP IT framework

A framework for GP IT systems and services will replace the GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) contract and aims to make procurement easier for suppliers and primary care providers

NHS Digital plans to launch a £450m GP IT framework, replacing the current GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) framework.

The organisation has issued a prior information notice for the framework, which aims to make it easier for primary care providers to buy IT systems and services, as well as opening up the market to more suppliers.

Services included as part of the new framework will invole core GP electronic patient record systems, but also “a range of ancillary services” such as document management, electronic consultations, mobile systems and clinical support, according to the prior information notice.  

The current GPSoC framework, which funds IT systems for most GP practices in England, only has four main suppliers: Emis, TPP, INPS and Microtest, which then have a range of subsidiary tools and systems GPs can choose from.  

The new framework aims to move away from that set-up and “pave the way towards supporting modularisation in the future and segments the requirements in a way that should make it easier for suppliers to provide discrete capabilities, as well as providing buyers with more choice”.

This can include patient services such as personal health records, digital therapies and apps for local GP surgeries. NHS Digital is also keen on suppliers with different ways of working than what is currently seen in the NHS, especially those that support collaboration across health and social care.  

NHS Digital aims to publish the contract notice in January 2019, and wants to speak to potential suppliers to explore potential approaches to the programme.  

As well as individual GP practices, the framework will also be open to other NHS providers.

“Call off contracts awarded through the framework will provide services to: GPs, GP federations and networks, primary care homes, multi-speciality community providers, other integrated care organisations, integrated care systems and other purchases of primary care-based systems,” the prior information notice said. 

GP IT has not been popular in the past few months. In July this year, the NHS admitted that it had inadvertently shared the confidential data of 150,000 patients over a three-year period due to a coding error in one of the most common GP IT systems – TPP’s SystmOne.  

In May 2018, NHS Digital launched a national data opt-out tool aiming to easily allow patients to opt out of having their information shared, including their GP medical records.

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