NHS Tayside and NHS Grampian have confirmed that they will be abandoning the General Practice Administration System for Scotland (GPASS) in favour of INPS’s Vision system.

The trusts decided to find alternative systems after becoming fed up with the problems practices were experiencing with GPASS. Critics say that GPASS has been plagued with problems since 2002.

Dr Stuart Scott, clinical director of e-health at NHS Grampian, told EHI Primary Care: “GPASS simply doesn’t meet the requirements of modern medical practices. It is such a disappointment that over the last two years, there are so many things wrong with it that need to be corrected and haven’t.

“It doesn’t do things simply or well for GPs. For example, entering data involves multiple keystrokes. They have tried correcting this, with the launch of GPASS Clinical, but of the 27 pilot sites who received it in 2004, none were happy with it.”

GPASS is used by 85% of GP practices in Scotland and is provided free to GPs to allow them to record patients’ details and manage appointments and prescriptions.

However, both Grampian and Tayside have opted to use the INPS Vision system instead – a system which Dr Scott says “actually does the job for GPs”.

“We start our migration from GPASS next week after our business case was approved by the health board, which will be fully funding the system. Service should become a lot more efficient using Vision and patients will notice the difference.

“Tayside has already installed Vision at 14 sites and have had no complaints about the new system.”

Dr Scott added that other trusts in Scotland were awaiting the findings of the Deloitte report before deciding on their next move.

“A lot of trusts are awaiting the publication and decisions contained in the Deloitte report before deciding whether or not to stick with GPASS. The independent review will contain a lot of discussion over GPASS and trusts are anxiously awaiting its findings.”

Overall, however Dr Scott believes that migrating away from GPASS will be of benefit to patients.

“Patients should be able to see greater benefits and a much faster service as a result of migrating from GPASS.”

In a speech to the Scottish Clinical Information Management in Practice (SCIMP) conference on 31 October, Paul Gray, director of primary and community care at the Scottish Executive Health Department, said the Scottish Executive would act on the key recommendations made. He insisted though that GPASS would not be scrapped.

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