Connecting for Health have confirmed they have awarded a five year contract to provide Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS) to a consortium comprising the Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics(SCHIN) and international medical publishers EBSCO.

As E-Health Insider Primary Care exclusively revealed last week NHS Connecting for Health ended its agreement with BMJ Publishing Group on 30 September after the BMJ refused to hand over the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of its material generated during the contract.

CfH began procuring for a new supplier of CKS in May 2006 with an advertisement in the Official Journal of the European Union, where they made it clear that it was essential that the Department of Health owned the IPR of any material used during the contract, which is paid for by taxpayers.

In a statement they said: “This will ensure that, at the end of the contract, the NHS will have continuing rights to the content developed during the course of the contract rather than be left with nothing if the supplier owned IPR, as was the case with the Clinical Evidence contract.”

Sir Muir Gray, director of clinical knowledge, process and safety for CfH said: “We recognise the importance of maintaining a service which provides summaries of knowledge. These must be evidence based, readily accessible and easy to read.”

The consortium will be providing GPs and clinicians with Prodigy Knowledge, an updated source of clinical knowledge designed to support healthcare professionals and patients, in managing the common conditions generally seen in primary and first-contact care.

Sir Muir added: “Clinicians have used Prodigy for years and this knowledge base will form the foundation for the Clinical Knowledge Summaries Service which is already of high quality but which will increase in scope during the next five years.”

EHI Primary Care has however learnt that the National Knowledge Service has decided not to renew its Copyright Licensing Agency central photocopying licence for the NHS in England to date, meaning that hard copied evidence cannot be photocopied legally, unless ad hoc licences are used.

Mike Orchard, chief operating officer for the Copyright Licensing Agency told EHI Primary Care: “Individual Trusts now have to negotiate their own licences. So we now have a situation where, for purely financial reasons, doctors and other health professionals…can’t make copies from important books, journals and magazines.

“Copying is not a ‘nice to have’ for the NHS, it is essential in providing high quality care. The central licence enabled staff to share with colleagues up-to-date information about research and innovation, provide patients and their families with information about illnesses and treatments, support training courses for which materials are regularly photocopied, and generally encourage communication across the Service.”

Orchard said that the NHS have now requested information on renewing their licence, but to date they have not purchased the relevant licence limiting the amount of essential photocopying which GPs and clinicians need to their jobs.

“It will cost a lot of money to use ad-hoc licences to photocopy relevant materials from certain print materials. It is in the NHS’s best interests to obtain a CLA licence and we hope to renew this deal as soon as possible.”