CCGs have the responsibility for buying and maintaining GP clinical computer systems.

CCGs must pay for systems that have met RFA standards (NHS general practice computerisation Requirements for Accreditation).

Practices are guaranteed choice from a number of accredited systems, although this choice may not necessarily include all systems available in the GP IT market.

This means that practices get a choice of approved systems and save time by not having to run their own procurement. They benefit from discounts through the central purchase and standardised terms and conditions. The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) places the order on their behalf, and the government will pay for most of the essential parts (Lot 1). Non essential Lot 2 and Lot 3 products will need to be procured and paid for locally by the CCG. This is known as GPSoC.

Lot 1: GP clinical IT systems and subsidiary modules – suppliers who offer or plan to offer services and systems that the majority of GP practices use or will be expected to use in the future. The categories of systems and services in lot 1 are pre-determined and, within these categories, the systems and services will be required to meet a minimum set of requirements and be expected to evolve during the life of the contract.

Lot 2: Additional GP IT services – suppliers who offer or plan to offer additional GP IT services that interoperate with, or are used alongside, the systems and services offered in lot 1. These services are for use by GP practices and healthcare professionals that work with GP practices. Examples of systems and services that may be offered in this lot include advanced/value-added versions of services offered in lot 1, patient arrival systems, physical device APIs, finance systems, hardware system maintenance and hardware.

Lot 3: Cross-care setting interoperable services – include suppliers who offer or plan to offer services that interoperate between systems and services used in care settings outside the GP practice and systems and services in use in the GP practice. This lot provides a mechanism for suppliers to demonstrate effective interoperability and to offer a call-off service for local organisations to draw down proven services.

The GPSoC contractual framework expired in December 2018. It was relaced by the GP IT futures programme and framework.

The funding of practices’ IT systems is aimed at ensuring that GP systems support practice personnel to:
– provide clinicians with appropriate information about individual patients, both on practice and other linked system
– enable users to record and search for information while ensuring that individual electronic health records are appropriately safeguarded
– allow communication between clinical and administrative systems
– facilitate remote access to a range of information via the Internet and NHSNet
– enable health professionals to access knowledge bases while consulting with patients
– facilitate dispensing practices
– enable the development of a framework for electronic prescribing, to enable paper-based prescriptions to be phased out
– enable patient online access to appointments and prescription requests.