IT system choice 'not compatible' with new GMS

The GPC says that proposals to increase the choice of IT systems available to GP practices set out by Connecting for Health this week are not compatible with the GMS contract.

A document released from the IT agency defines what types of system changes will be funded by Connecting for Health. Under the proposals, called 'GP Systems of Choice', a practice will be funded to move to an IT system offered by its own local service provider (LSP) or to have its existing IT system upgraded.

However, a practice wanting to move to an accredited system supported by an LSP other than its own will not receive funding for the migration.

GPC IT subcommittee chairman Dr Paul Cundy said that all moves to accredited IT systems should be funded on the same basis.

'This is not compatible with the new GMS contract,' he said. 'It is unreasonable to provide funding for one set of moves but not another. This is not delivering the choice that GPs are entitled to under the GMS contract.'

Dr Gillian Braunold, the GP clinical lead for Connecting For Health, confirmed that the cost of data migration would only be covered by Connecting for Health for practices moving to LSP-supplied systems.

However, she said Connecting for Health would fund ongoing support costs once the move was complete.

Dr Braunold said she did not believe being forced to pay for migration was a significant barrier to GP system choice.

'It would cost about £1,500 for my practice, although the cost will vary,' she said.

Under the proposals PCTs will also receive extra capital funding to support hardware upgrades.

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