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NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) have announced the start of a new procurement process for an expanded framework of services and solutions for GP practices.
The new GP System of Choice (GPSoC) contract will build on the success of the existing contract that has been in place since 2007. It will increase competition, innovation and value-for-money by encompassing a greater range of suppliers, systems and services. It will also introduce new arrangements to help integration between systems used by GP practices.
Beverley Bryant, Director of Strategic Systems and Technology at NHS England, said:
“We want all GPs to have access to the best technologies to improve patient experience and care. GPs in England are leading the world in digital record keeping and GPSoC has been an important element in this success.
“We have listened to GPs about what technology they need to improve patient experience and drive improved information sharing. The new GPSoC contract responds to these needs.”
Existing GPSoC arrangements, currently used by 81 per cent of practices in England, support GP practices contract their IT systems. These systems are vital to the collection and sharing of patient information to support clinical care, and provide access to national services such as Choose and Book, the Electronic Prescription Service and Summary Care Records.
Dr Peter Short, one of the GPs involved with the design of new GPSoC, said:
“For GPs, the electronic record system is central to every aspect of patient care. The ambitions for integrated and patient-centric care, and for data use by patients and secondary purposes, are all dependent on the continued development of these systems and the ability to appropriately and safely share, access and use the content. The new GPSoC drives this by placing the needs of the patients and their clinicians at the heart of system development.”
Kemi Adenubi, programme director with responsibility for GPSoC at the HSCIC, said:
“We have worked closely with both GPs and suppliers to shape the new GPSoC contract and framework and ensure they are fit-for-purpose.”
The HSCIC will manage the framework on behalf of NHS England, the new GPSoC sponsor.
The new GPSoC contract is expected to be in place before the end of the year and the framework will have three separate lots:
- Lot 1: GP clinical IT systems and subsidiary modules – will include suppliers who offer or plan to offer services and systems that the majority of GP practices use or will be expected to use in the future. The categories of systems and services in lot 1 are pre-determined and, within these categories, the systems and services will be required to meet a minimum set of requirements and be expected to evolve during the life of the contract. .
- Lot 2: Additional GP IT services – will include suppliers who offer or plan to offer additional GP IT services that interoperate with, or are used alongside, the systems and services offered in lot 1. These services will be for use by GP practices and healthcare professionals that work with GP practices. Examples of systems and services that may be offered in this lot include advanced/value-added versions of services offered in lot 1, patient arrival systems, physical device APIs, finance systems, hardware system maintenance and hardware.
- Lot 3: Cross-care setting interoperable services – will include suppliers who offer or plan to offer services that interoperate between systems and services used in care settings outside the GP practice and systems and services in use in the GP practice. This lot will provide a mechanism for suppliers to demonstrate effective interoperability and to offer a call-off service for local organisations to draw down proven services.
Suppliers will be able to bid to supply services in one or more of these lots. The initial framework contract will be let for a period of two years although the underlying call off agreements will be let for up to three years. Central funding will be available for services provided in lot 1, while services in lots 2 and 3 will be funded by local NHS organisations.
The procurement has now started and further information about the procurement process is available on the HSCIC website.