NHS Wales has agreed a framework agreement with GP practice suppliers EMIS and INPS to provide a managed IT service to the country’s GPs, EHI Primary Care understands.

NHS Wales went out to tender for a new GP IT Clinical System Services Framework Agreement in May 2011.

The tender document says it is looking for a managed service to provide GP clinical system functionality via a central hosting arrangement with the inclusion of support services. The new framework is set to run for four years.

The deal replaces the Welsh GMS Systems and Services Framework Agreement in 2007, which included four suppliers – EMIS, INPS, iSoft and Healthy Software.

EHI PC reported in April that NHS Wales informatics service director, David Davies, told the Primary Health Info 2012 conference that a decision would be made in June and that the systems would be deployed by 2015.

At the time, he said that the agreement was likely to feature three suppliers as NWIS felt it was important to retain choice for GPs; but the move to central hosting was essential to meet data security standards and to promote interoperability.

His comments followed the thinking of the NHS Wales’ GP Clinical Systems Strategy, issued in October 2010.

It said the vision for the future was “the provision of integrated, safe and efficient health care services…supported by clinically rich functional GP systems which interoperate with national and third party applications and services via a managed, affordable, reliable and resilient ICT infrastructure.”

It said that in future systems should be “next generation’ hosted, web-based and patient centric, supporting core clinical functions.”

At present, there are six different clinical systems, provided by four different suppliers, running in 484 Welsh GP practices. Between them, INPS and EMIS have more than 80% of the Welsh GP IT market.

A representative from INPS confirmed to EHI PC that it was included in the new arrangement, while an EMIS spokesperson said: “EMIS is awaiting formal confirmation of its position regarding the GP systems tender from NHS Wales."

CSC, which acquired iSoft in April 2011, supports around 60 GP practices in Wales with its Synergy and Ganymede primary care systems. CSC confirmed to EHI that it had not been included in the framework.

A CSC spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we are not part of the new GP IT Framework Agreement with the NHS Wales Informatics Service for commercial reasons.

"Nevertheless, we will continue to support our primary care customers in Wales, under an existing agreement with NHS Wales which runs to October 2015.

"We remain committed to primary care and will continue to develop our products and support our large customer base across the UK."

Healthy Software, which was purchased by Advanced Health and Care in 2009, currently supplies systems to 1% of practices in Wales. However, a spokesperson for the group told EHI PC that it had not entered the tendering process.