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General Practitioners: ICT

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the licence charges are for each information system accredited under the GP Systems of Choice programme; what expenditure his Department has incurred to date on (a) upgrading GP systems to Systems of Choice level and (b) supplying infrastructure to primary care trusts under the GP Systems of Choice programme to date; and what estimate he has made of primary care trusts’ expenditure of training staff to use GP Systems of Choice to date. (277082)

The GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) initiative is aimed at improving the information technology (IT) systems and services that support general practices in England by delivering the functionality required under the national programme for IT in line with a common set of standards and performance measures to which all suppliers must adhere. GPSoC enables practices to continue to use the IT systems they already use, but under a standard contractual arrangement that improves transparency and value for money for the national health service.

The annual licence and service charges payable to suppliers for each information technology (IT) system accredited under GPSoC are given in the following table.

£

Supplier

EMIS

INPS

iSOFT

Microtest

Licence/service level

Software licence

3,427.72

4,681.00

4,997.31

5,592.81

Level 1 compliance

204.64

205.00

203.06

204.64

Level 2 compliance

204.64

205.00

203.06

204.64

Level 3 compliance

204.64

205.00

Not level 3 compliant

Not level 3 compliant

Summary care record (SCR) compliance

Not SCR compliant

Not SCR compliant

203.06

Not SCR compliant

System Support

665.08

665.00

659.95

665.08

Notes:

1. Level 1 compliance: functionality to support core general practitioner (GP) system requirements, choose and book, Spine, and personal demographics service

2. Level 2 Compliance: Level 1, plus electronic prescription service

3. Level 3 Compliance: Level 2, plus GP to GP record transfer

Minor variations in compliance and system support charges, originally common for all suppliers, are due to indexation changes as a result of timing of when the contract became effective for each supplier.

All systems must meet GPSoC Level 2 before they are funded under the GPSoC contract and it is the suppliers who must meet the costs of upgrading their systems to achieve this level.

Funding of an average of £9,500 per GP practice was provided to PCTs in 2007 to upgrade practice IT infrastructure to ensure that practice infrastructure met the minimum standards required to support the efficient use of systems provided under GPSoC, and of other systems and services provided under the national programme for IT.

Since the initiative enables practices to retain the systems with which they are familiar and have been trained to use, training funded under GPSoC is restricted to that required to take advantage of new functionality. Expenditure to date, which is funded by the Department, totals some £323,000.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what timetable he has set for (a) the cessation of the temporary programme, GP Systems of Choice, as part of the National Programme for IT and (b) the commencement of the deployment of Local Service Provider solutions for General Practice. (277199)

GP Systems of Choice began in August 2007, to run initially for two years, with the expectation that contracts awarded under the initiative would be extended for a further two years if the initiative proved successful. The assumption at the outset was that, by the end of the four-year period, national programme for information technology local service providers (LSPs) would have delivered their integrated general practice solutions. Depending on the rate of take up of the integrated solutions, the Department will determine in due course whether the contracts should be re-tendered to ensure continuity of service.

LSP general practitioner (GP) solutions have already been deployed to over 900 practices, with more practices migrating to TPP SystmOne, provided by CSC, than any other available GP system.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the average cost to his Department of accrediting systems through the GP Systems of Choice programme. (277200)

The Department routinely undertakes testing to demonstrate that new functionality offered by national programme for information technology suppliers meets the necessary requirements and standards. The cost of doing so would therefore arise even in the absence of GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC).

Under GPSoC, the cost varies depending on whether the system is an upgrade to an existing system or a new system. The estimated average cost of the former is around £4,500, and of the latter, around £23,300.