NHS Digital has completed the first phase of the GP IT Futures procurement process, with the invitation to tender now closed.

Seventy-three suppliers have submitted tender applications to be on the new £484 million general practice IT framework, which aims to bring better IT systems into primary care.

It replaces the GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) agreement that has been in place since 2007, with a view to improving data-sharing between care settings.

An NHS Digital spokesperson told Digital Health News it was “very pleased with the number of applications”, which will now be subjected to an assessment and assurance procedure.

Martin Warden, director for the digital transformation in general practice programme at NHS Digital, said: “We are delighted that so many suppliers have submitted their applications to tender to be on the new GP IT Futures framework. It is great to have so many companies who share in our vision to provide GPs with the best possible tools and services, at the highest possible standards.”

GP IT Futures marks a departure from the concept of having principal and subsidiary GP IT systems, and a framework previously dominated by TPP, EMIS, InPS Vision and Microtest.

Announced in August 2018, the new framework emphases the use of open standards while levelling the playing field for new entrants in the IT supplier market.

In doing so, it is hoped patients will be able to take better control of their care through improved access to digital GP services, such as video consultations and access to their records.

Dr Masood Nazir, SRO for GPIT Futures and associate CCIO of primary care digital transformation at NHSX, said: “The GP IT Futures framework has been designed to ensure that GP colleagues and practices will be able to choose from modern, assured and well-designed products that reflect what is needed for general practice for now and for the future.

“These solutions will help to reduce burden in delivering patient care.”

GP IT Futures marks Lot 1 of a new procurement process for Digital Care Services put out to tender by NHS Digital – on behalf of Matthew Hancock – in May 2019.

Lot 1 of the contract is valued at £484m, while Lot 2 is valued at £16m.

The contract for both lots is scheduled to end on 31 December 2020, with an option to extend it until 31 March 2023.

Suppliers awarded for Lot 1 of the tender will automatically be awarded for Lot 2 unless they opt-out.

NHS England and NHSX recently published a list of accredited EPR suppliers for secondary care under its Health Systems Support Framework.