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NHS Digital announces suppliers for GP IT Futures framework

The NHS’s previous IT supplier framework for GPs – composed of just four suppliers – will be replaced by a pool of nearly 70 IT companies

NHS Digital has selected nearly 70 IT companies to supply systems under its new GP IT Futures framework.

This follows the May 2019 publication of a £500m tender underpinning the new vision for GP systems, aimed at simplifying IT provision for surgeries and creating a competitive systems marketplace for primary care.

The list of selected companies includes three new entrants offering core clinical systems, which NHS Digital calls “foundation solutions”, a catalogue of systems encompassing one of more features around GP referral management, prescribing, recording consultations, patient information maintenance, GP resource management and appointments management.

It also includes 53 new entrants offering additional system capabilities and 16 existing suppliers providing systems under the former GP System of Choice (GPSoC) contract.

The current GPSoC framework only features four suppliers – INPS, Microtest, Emis and TPP. The contracts will expire on 31 December 2019, and NHS Digital wants the transition to the new framework to be completed by then.

“GPs and their patients deserve the most effective and efficient modern technology with which to run their practices and access their data,” said NHS Digital chief executive, Sarah Wilkinson.

“The health and care system at large needs easier access to the critical data held within the primary care system to enable better secondary care and a richer flow of data into medical research.

“We are delighted that the supplier community has responded so positively to our proposal for the next generation of these systems, and are going to provide such a rich set of technical solutions for primary care,” she added.

The supplier systems are now being evaluated and assured against the new standards set by the GP IT Futures framework, with successful existing solutions expected to become available from 1 January 2020, and new offerings being launched throughout next year.

When the new arrangement was announced in response to criticisms over the current state of systems at GP practices, health secretary Matt Hancock vowed to make it “as easy for a GP surgery to switch IT provider as it is for a small business to switch bank accounts”.

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