Fifty-six new entrants to the NHS primary care market are due to be awarded contracts under the GP IT Futures framework.

NHS Digital has notified 69 suppliers of the intention to award them framework agreements under the contract vehicle for primary care IT, pending the completion of an assurance process.

The successful supplier systems will become available from January 2020, following the phase-out of the existing GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) framework this December.

A total of 73 suppliers submitted tender applications for the new £484 million general practice IT framework, of which 69 were successful.

This includes 16 existing suppliers, three new entrants offering core clinical systems and 53 new entrants offering “a range of additional system capabilities to the UK primary care market.”

Sarah Wilkinson, CEO of NHS Digital, said: “We are delighted that the supplier community has responded so positively to our proposal for the next generation of these systems, and are going to provide such a rich set of technical solutions for primary care.

“We look forward to working closely with all of them over the coming years, and I thank them all for the work they have done to ensure their solutions meet our new standards and for their work in delivering them into the primary care system.”

Digital Buying Catalogue

Under GP IT Futures, GP systems will be available for procurement under the so-called Digital Buying Catalogue.

This will act as an online marketplace through which buyers will be able to search for and compare supplier systems that best meet their needs.

Offering the freedom to mix and match IT systems forms the cornerstone of the GP IT Futures framework, which has been designed to enable a greater degree of modularity in the primary care IT landscape by opening it up to new competitors.

Another focus of the framework is to deliver better access to – and more innovative use of – data collected by GP systems.

Wilkinson said: “GPs and their patients deserve the most effective and efficient modern technology with which to run their practices and access their data respectively, and the health and care system at large needs easier access to the critical data held within the primary care system to enable better secondary care and a richer flow of data into medical research.”

Systems from existing GP suppliers will be available from 1 January, whereas new-to-market solutions will come online throughout the course of 2020.

EMIS Health announced on Monday (21 October) that it had been awarded a spot on the new framework.

Meanwhile, Australian cloud supplier Medical Director was named as one of the 56 new entrants – and the first cloud entrant to the market.

It represents the first time the NHS has opened up the market to a new software player in over 12 years.

NHS Digital will manage continuity and transition arrangements for the termination of GPSoC and subsequent introduction of GP IT Futures to “ensure all practices have access to the systems and services they need without any interruption”.

Dr Masood Nazir, senior responsible officer for GP IT Futures and associate CCIO for primary care digital transformation at NHSX, said: “We are pleased that so many companies share our vision to provide GPs with the best possible tools and services, particularly as we seek to deliver digital first primary care and improve patient access to care and advice.

“With a higher standard for the industry through the new framework and interoperability, we can unlock the potential of GP IT solutions to support our busy GP Practices deliver patient care.

“This marks the next phase of the programme, as we work with CCGs on plans for implementation and transition to the new framework.”

A list of all the successful suppliers can be found here.