Hancock pledges to shake-up GP IT systems with new framework


Health secretary Matt Hancock has pledged to shake up IT systems being used in GP practices.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced a number of changes will be made under the GP IT Futures framework.

The framework will move away from having principal and subsidiary systems to one that supports modularity, with a view to making it easier for new market entrants to provide services to primary care.

It is hoped this new framework will create an open and competitive market which is currently dominated by two main providers, EMIS and TPP.

By creating a more open market, the government hopes this will lure more technology companies to invest in the NHS.

The Department of Health and Social Care has said that by 2023 to 2024 it wants every patient in England to be able to access GP services digitally, with practices able to offer online or video consultations.

Hancock said: “Too often the IT used by GPs in the NHS – like other NHS technology – is out of date. It frustrates staff and patients alike, and doesn’t work well with other NHS systems.

“This must change.”

Part of the framework also feature standards, developed by NHS Digital, which will introduce minimum technical requirements so systems can talk to each other securely and are continuously upgradable.

Any system that does not meet these standards will not be used by the NHS and the government will look to end contracts with providers that do not understand these principles for the health and care sector.

Sarah Wilkinson, chief executive at NHS Digital, added: “The next generation of IT services for primary care must give more patients easy access to all key aspects of their medical record and provide the highest quality technology for use by GPs.

“They must also comply with our technology standards to ensure that we can integrate patient records across primary care, secondary care and social care.

In addition, we intend to strengthen quality controls and service standards, and dramatically improve the ease with which GPs can migrate from one supplier to another.”

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