A North London primary care trust (PCT) has awarded primary care systems supplier EMIS a contract to supply the PCS system for a new £6.2 million ‘super-surgery’ due to open in Enfield, North London, this year.

The system will be used by four GP practices with a combined patient list of 18,300. They will move into the integrated health centre, run by Enfield PCT, in March.

The health centre, funded through an NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) project set up to boost investment in primary and community care faclilities, will house around 150 staff including the GP practices and community health teams providing a wide range of services. A dentistry service and a pharmacy will be added at a later date.

“EMIS came out strongly in the options appraisal by our GPs, and we have great confidence in the supplier and its systems,” said Gary Birks, head of IM&T at Enfield PCT.

Birks said that the PCT had chosen a highly flexible IT solution that would enable any of the 150 staff based at the centre to access their own IT system from any PC. EMIS is now working with the trust’s Health Informatics Service to build an integrated desktop that incorporates the PCS system.

He added: “The hosted solution will give a lot of flexibility around the site and connectivity into the system from elsewhere if needed.”

Sean Riddell, EMIS’ deputy managing director, said: “A flexible IT system is crucial for this type of integrated service delivery. We are delighted to have won the contract and look forward to playing our part in delivering improved services to patients.”

The Enfield contract win follows the installation of EMIS’s PCS system at another LIFT-funded ‘super-surgery’ in London, the Newham Primary Care Centre, which was opened in December 2004.

Birks told EHI Primary Care that, as a separate piece of work, the PCT had also just completed an options appraisal and developed an outline business case to replace its existing iSoft PIMS community patient administration system. One option that was closely looked at was the RIO community PAS being offered as an interim solution by Capital Care Alliance, the LSP for London.

"We came to the conclusion that RIO could be a good option but felt that more work would need to be done for all users to get benefits," said Birks. He added that one possibility now being examined was a "mix and match" approach involving both PIMS and RIO.

The PCT now intends to develop a full business case for its requirements on community systems "So we can get a better feel for the deployment plans and subsequent costs [of the RIO interim solution] of doing so."

CCA has stated that although RIO is provided as an interim solution it will be supported throughout the lifetime of the NPfIT programme in London. The LSP anticipates that its full strategic solution for community should be available from the middle of 2008.