Five GP system national user groups have launched a campaign to support GPs’ right to IT system choice.
The five national groups, covering the systems supplied by EMIS, InPS, iSoft, Microtest and Healthy Software, have set up a website to promote their campaign and are writing to every GP practice in England as well as all chief executives of PCTs and strategic health authorities in England plus some MPs.
The user groups claim some practices are facing pressure to move to single systems provided by local service providers (LSPs) and are asking GPs to report any untoward pressure or inducements to change systems.
Dr Charlie Stuart-Buttle, a GP in Kent and EMIS National User Group chairman, said: “This not about preventing change but ensuring that practices make fully informed decisions about the future of their clinical systems and are not subjected to undue pressure in the process”.
The website outlines the GP Systems of Choice scheme which the user groups claim will protect practices right to keep their current system. Connecting for Health is currently encouraging GP practices to sign up to GPSoC and wants the vast majority to have done so by the end of March.
Dr Paul Cundy, co-chair of the joint IT Committee of the BMA and Royal College of General Practitioners, said he was concerned that take-up of GPSoC would be affected by the wider contractual row with the government over extended access.
He told EHI Primary Care: "GPs may be reluctant to get engaged with something when the main beneficiary appears to be the PCT."
However, Dr Cundy encouraged GPs to sign up for the initiative. He added: “GPSoC offers instant protection from pressure to move systems, guarantees GP IT funding for four years and creates a level playing field between suppliers and LSPs. It means a PCT/practice agreement on IM&T will be available to all practices, including those on local service provider contracts. We don’t want the equivalent of a PMS/GMS split in GP IT”.
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