NHS Digital to spend £450m on new GP IT Framework

The new GP IT framework has been announced by NHS Digital, according to The Register, and it outlines what’s to come once the current agreement expires

GP procurement processes are about to be overhauled, as the NHS plans to pour £450m into modernising outdated frameworks and IT systems for practices across the UK.

NHS Digital has released a prior information notice to launch market engagement activities for the planned GP IT framework. The plan is that contract mechanisms for GPs, clinical commissioning groups and other primary care organisations will be provided by this scheme.

The new framework is part of GP IT Futures and will take over the soon-to-expire GP Systems of Choice agreement.

Currently, these organisations can choose from four technology suppliers exactly what best suits their needs – the latest plan will better support modularisation. The hope is that this will enable more choice and encourage other businesses to join the market, as well as making it easier for suppliers to provide additional services and functionality.

Dale Peters, of TechMarketView, said of the approaching change:

“The shift towards a more modular approach is, in part, designed to make it easier for new suppliers to offer services through this framework.

“NHS Digital also makes it clear that it is open to new suppliers entering the market by stating that patient record systems under the new framework ‘may or may not be General Practice (GP) Systems as currently accessed within the UK market’.”

Peters added that the framework potentially put practices at risk, as they could add yet more pressure to “an already fragile system”.

“NHS Digital will need to consider carefully the balance between innovation and disruption,” he said.

The GP systems of Choice agreement expires in December this year. The contract notice for the GP IT Framework is due to be published on 4 January 2019.

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