TPP has postponed an incentives scheme for general practice staff who agree to host demonstrations of its SystmOne software.
This is the second time the Leeds-based primary care software developer has halted offering practice staff incentives in return for demonstrations.
In July last year, NHS Connecting for Health wrote to CSC with concerns about its subcontractor – TPP – offering gifts in return for organising meetings of practice managers during which SystmOne would be demonstrated.
“The gifts on offer include tea at the Ritz, two tickets to a West End show and £50 of Marks and Spencer vouchers,” the letter said.
CSC replied last July, saying it had “entered dialogue” with TPP and the company would “no longer be sending out letters to practices offering gifts in return for organising demonstrations of SystmOne.
“CSC can confirm that its subcontractor TPP will not be sending out letters to practices offering gifts in return for organising demonstrations of SystmOne,” the letter said.
However, this month TPP sent out a message saying the company wants to “sponsor your practice meeting”.
The company said it would provide lunch and refreshments for all attendees and the organiser would receive a £25 Marks and Spencer voucher.
“All we ask for in return is a short slot at your meeting so we can talk to your attendees and demonstrate the benefits of SystmOne to those practices not yet using it,” the new letter says.
The DH told EHI that it had contacted CSC again about “TPP’s position, which is not in line with the assurances previously provided.” CSC declined to comment. But TPP confirmed to EHI that it had decided to postpone the scheme.
“Obviously TPP would not have begun offering incentives as a thank-you for a GP’s time, if we were not highly confident that we are not doing anything wrong legally or ethically,” a TPP spokesperson said.
“That remains our position. However following recent communication with CSC and CfH we have postponed the sending of marketing material that offers incentives for SystmOne demonstrations, until all parties have agreed a way forward.”
The GP Systems of Choice framework agreement prohibits software providers from offering gifts to “any servant of the authority [CfH] or a primary care trust.” The DH has said this does not include GPs, since they do not sign the framework.
In its statement, TPP added that it had always been upfront about any promotional incentives being offered.
“All parties are now keen to ensure we can agree on ways to advertise and promote our products whilst maintaining our high ethical standards,” the spokesperson said.
“In the meantime we will continue to consult with GPs, their staff and any NHS guidelines, in order to gain feedback about the best ways to demonstrate SystmOne to them.”