The GP IT Futures framework will come into force from January next year, the health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has announced.
Mr Hancock announced the launch of the new GP IT Futures contract at The King’s Fund event on digital health and care on 23 May.
On the same day, NHS Digital issued an invitation to tender in the Official Journal of the European Union, meaning that NHS GP system suppliers can now bid to provide systems and services in primary care.
NHS Digital told Healthcare Leader that CCGs will be able to select the new suppliers in the autumn, before the contract comes into force on 1 January 2020.
The new GP IT Futures framework – which replaces the current GP System of Choice framework – will create an open market to allow CCGs and GPs to purchase systems that have been reviewed and meet the safety standards mandated by the Government.
It is expected that call-off contracts – which are contracts falling under a framework agreement – will be entered by organisations such as CCGs. These contracts will provide services to ‘GPs, GP federations and networks, primary care homes, multi-speciality community providers, other integrated care organisations, integrated care systems and other purchases of primary care based systems’, according to a prior information notice published by NHS Digital last year.
Switch IT provider as bank accounts
Speaking at The King’s Fund yesterday, Mr Hancock 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. If not, they will not get contracts.’
NHS Digital director for the digital transformation in general practice programme Martin Warden said that the GP IT Futures Framework will ensure that ‘GPs benefit from the best technology’ and will help ‘reduce the administrative burden’ on GP practices.
He added: ‘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.
‘CCGs will be able to select the systems, tools and services that meet their local needs from the framework, confident that they have been rigorously assessed and meet a high standard of safety, security and interoperability.
Two years after the WannaCry attack – which led to 6,900 NHS appointments being cancelled and according to a NAO report ‘could have been prevented’ – Mr Hancock also said that the Government is in the middle of investing £150m to put in place new protections in trusts.
He said: ‘Over 100 NHS boards have now received training from GCHQ-accredited experts on cyber security threats and the actions they need to take to protect their organisations.’