Fujitsu Alliance, Local Service Provider for the Southern cluster, looks set to finalise contract negotiations with InPractice Systems to supply a version of its Vision 3 system as the ‘alternative’ GP software solution, E-Health Insider has learned.

A communication from a Strategic Health Authority chief information officer in the South received by EHI last week indicates that the deal for an alternative GP system is now a certainty. The document states: "The initial solution will be a data centre based version of the InPractice Systems Vision 3 product," and adds it will be available for deployment "from May onwards".

"Practices taking this product can be assured that the solution will evolve to provide full ‘integrated’ CRS functionality over time. The solution is a core product and therefore free of charge to PCTs."

A spokesperson for Fujitsu told EHI that the firm was in the process of "dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s" on the deal. "There are discussions with InPS," confirmed the spokesperson. "A contract hasn’t been signed." Nobody at InPS was able to offer EHI comment as of press time.

Another spokesperson for Fujitsu confirmed that an announcement will be made shortly that a GP system based on centrally-hosted ‘enterprise’ version of InPS’s Vision 3 software will be offered to PCTs as the alternative GP system for the South of England. The software will be made freely available to practices across the region under the National Programme for IT.

Fujitsu was unable to confirm whether the system to be deployed would eventually be developed into a full CRS solution. "The whole point of the discussion is to look at the integration," said a representative for Fujitsu.

Fujitsu stressed that a formal announcement will be made soon, but would not be drawn on timescales.

InPractice Systems is also understood to be the alternative primary care systems supplier for the London cluster, where BT is acting as LSP. In both London and the Southern cluster IDX Systems Corporation are meant to supply a brand new primary care system, currently under development, as part of the ‘core solution’ to be delivered by the LSPs.

The Southern region is the largest in England, covering almost one quarter of England’s population and a geographical area from Dover to Land’s End and the Isle of Wight to Milton Keynes.