The delay in TPP signing the GP Systems of Choice framework contract was due to the company needing to complete its ‘supplier specific documentation’ prior to the signing, the Health and Social Care Information Centre has said.

The previous GPSoC contract expired on 1 April this year, and 16 of the suppliers on the framework signed the contract before its expiry date. However EHI reported that TPP only signed the contract last week, due to ongoing “specific contractual issues”.

An HSCIC spokesperson told EHI that the reason for the delay was not related to any ongoing negotiations around the terms of the contract, but “related to ensuring that a complete set of supplier specific documentation from TPP was in place prior to signing the contract.” 

“All suppliers signed up to the same, standard set of terms and conditions,” said the HSCIC spokesperson.

EHI understands that all suppliers were given three documents that formed part of the contract and that the delay was caused due to TPP taking longer to get in place and sign the last of these.

GPSoC is a framework contract which funds GP IT systems for 75% of practices in England.

The new agreement means that from 1 May, TPP will supply systems and helpdesk support directly to 6% of practices in England that use the system as part of GPSoC.

“Signing an agreement with TPP means that all four current suppliers of GP clinical IT systems – EMIS, INPS, Microtest and TPP – are contracted to provide interfaces to third parties to meet the needs of patients, GP practices and the wider NHS,” said the HSCIC.

23% of GP practices in England use TPP’s SystmOne under the Local Service Provider contract as part of the National Programme for IT.

For these practices in the North, Midlands and East of England, the support will continue to be provided by CSC which delivers the system as part of the contract.

What will happen when the LSP contract comes to an end in July 2016 is still unclear and will depend on whether or not the GPSoC contract is extended past December 2016.

The new framework includes, for the first time, subsidiary suppliers and services including patient access to records, electronic appointment booking and electronic prescriptions. It also includes open interface mechanisms and utilisation payments for national services.

NHS England has established a GPSoC assurance steering group, chaired by Richard Jefferson, NHS England’s head of business systems, which will lead the integration process within the framework.

 An HSCIC spokeswoman said: “I am very pleased that we are now in a position where we can work with suppliers and the NHS to get new integrations in place with all the principal clinical system suppliers.”

TPP declined to comment any further on the reason for the delay in signing the contract.