The development of new GP systems by local service providers is likely to be a target of cuts to the National Programme for IT in the NHS, health secretary Andy Burnham has indicated.
Burnham told the House of Commons that further enhancements to GP systems were “not necessary”.
He added: “There has been a real achievement in GP systems, which in many cases are world class. They are working well and have a high level of satisfaction in them. We won’t now go ahead with further enhancements to these systems.”
The announcement is thought to be an indication that the systems already provided by the four main GP suppliers in England – EMIS, INPS, iSoft and TPP – are capable of delivering the functionality the health service needs.
As such, it is also thought to be an indication that the government sees no need for additional LSP systems, such as the primary care offering of Lorenzo Regional Care which CSC is committed to deliver in the North, Midlands and East as part of release 4 in 2012.
Burnham’s “further enhancements” is an apparent reference to the original NPfIT vision that all GP practices should eventually move to a fully integrated LSP solution in which the GP clinical system was fully integrated with secondary care.
The government now seems to have decided that innovations in the GP market place will provide the necessary integration in the future.
Burnham added: “Improvements in technology now make it possible to get these systems to talk together so it’s important to look at them again.”
Other possible targets for cutbacks are future functionality planned for the Summary Care Record and HealthSpace, although EHI Primary Care understands that may not extend to cancellation of the existing roll-out of the SCR.
Burnham said the Electronic Prescription Service would go ahead “if scope for further progress is there.” He added: “Where systems are working we will be pressing on.”
The health secretary was also at pains to defend the delivery of NHS-based systems against the introduction of commercial offerings such as the use of personal health record platforms from Google or Microsoft which have been associated with Conservative IT plans.
Burnham told MPs: “It’s about delivering a system that works and we will not do it on the cheap. If he [shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley] wants to hand over Google or Microsoft and do it on the cheap he may come to regret it.”