Primary Care News

GP IT Futures programme to create open, competitive market

In a speech at the King’s Fund Digital Health and Care Congress yesterday Matt Hancock announced the new GP IT Futures framework with an aim to develop new innovative GP IT systems.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock in the speech said said: “I believe it should be as easy for a GP surgery to switch IT provider as it is for a small business to switch bank accounts.”

“Under the new contract, providers will have to follow our standards on interoperability and data access. Systems will need to be continuously upgradeable. Patient data will need to be securely hosted in the cloud.”

“Sick patients should not be having to explain ‘why are you here’ for the umpteenth time every time they meet a new clinician, or carting round bulging folders of notes from appointment to appointment.”

“Your medical records should be accessible from wherever you are the NHS, just as you can get to your emails from any device.”

The speech emphasised changes to allow GPs to choose the best technologies to meet their needs, to improve efficiency and enable more patients to take control of their care, including through accessing digital services such as video consultations.

Hancock said: “The current market is dominated by two main providers, which can slow down innovation by making it difficult for new suppliers to enter the market. The current system also relies on long-term contracts and we want to empower GPs to choose the best suppliers for their ever-changing needs.”

The framework is to create an open, competitive market to encourage the best technology companies to invest in the NHS. In practice, this will mean supplying cloud-based, modern systems that can share life-saving patient information seamlessly and securely – from GPs to hospitals and social care settings.

The GP IT Futures framework tender has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

Sarah Wilkinson, Chief Executive at NHS Digital said: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring GPs have access to high quality technology systems and services, and that those systems also comply with standards and integrate effectively with the rest of the health and care system, so that hospitals and GPs have a full view of a patient’s record and can care for them safely and efficiently.”

“We are looking forward to working with incumbent and new providers over the coming months to ensure that from the start of next year GPs have a choice of high quality systems providers.”

Masood Nazir, NHS England SRO, for Primary Care Digital Transformation, said “GP IT Futures will enable the continued and future delivery of clinical IT systems to all general practices in England. It supports the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan for digital primary care.”

“Technology is a key enabler of quality, safety, efficiency and positive experience. A digital first approach to primary care will become a right for patients to choose. NHS Digital is working to secure the latest standards-based technologies to enable this in the most effective and efficient way into General Practice.”

Martin Warden, Director for the Digital Transformation in General Practice programme at NHS Digital, said: “The launch of GP IT Futures framework is a key stage in unlocking the full potential of digital innovation across the NHS.”

“The framework will ensure that GPs benefit from the best technology, which is flexible and adaptable enough to meet future needs. It will reduce administrative burden and give GPs access to faster, more efficient systems that feature the tools they need to make their jobs easier. This will free up time for the patients who need them.”

“For patients, the fact that systems can communicate across organisations means that they can be confident that the clinical professionals looking after them have access to the information they need to make the best decisions. It will also enable us to offer more and better-quality digital tools and services for patients, such as the opportunity to take up online or video call appointments with every GP by 2023.”

The new GP IT Futures framework will replace the current GP System of Choice framework.Suppliers will need to provide evidence of their capability and intent in their responses to the tender. Suppliers are also invited to start onboarding their solutions and services to the beta ‘Digital Buying Catalogue’.

For more information on the framework and the Digital Buying Catalogue system onboarding visit our Bravo platform.