Scottish GPs have strongly criticised the delay in procuring a choice of GP IT systems and called for funding for the GPASS system to be released to NHS boards.
Last week’s Scottish Local Medical Committees’ conference passed a motion stating that it “deplores the slow progress in procuring a choice of national IT systems following the decision to abandon GPASS.”
GP representatives want the money tied up in GPASS to be released so boards can procure a choice of GP systems if a national procurement does not go ahead. The LMCs also said that migration from GPASS should only happen in agreement with LMCs and with the proviso that GP practices must not lose out financially.
Dr Alan McDevitt, a member of the Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said Scottish GPs recognised that the GPASS system did not have a long term future and were waiting for the government to go-ahead with the procurement of a choice of IT systems promised last summer.
He told EHI Primary Care: “Practices are chomping at the bit and want to know where we are going but its got bogged down in discussions about what exactly should be procured and at the moment the procurement isn’t happening at national level or board level.
The decision to abandon GPASS was made following an independent report into the future of GP IT written by consultants Deloittes in 2006. The Scottish government then decided to procure a system known as the Integrated Primary and Community Care (IPAC) system that would also meet the needs of child health and mental health teams. However, this was later dropped.
Dr McDevitt said there had been talk of those boards which were still heavily reliant on GPASS being given funding to go ahead and run their own procurement for a number of IT systems.
He said progress had also been delayed because of a suggestion that someone might be interested in buying GPASS and also because it was difficult to release funding from GPASS while practices were still using the system.
He added: “GPs want to have a choice of the IT system that they can use and as far as we are concerned it doesn’t matter whether that procurement happens nationally or locally so long as there is choice.”
At the beginning of this month, the SGPC called for full integration of primary and secondary care systems in its strategy document on the future of general practice.