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New IT system for GPs criticised for high cost, delays

2 July 2015

New IT system for GPs criticised for high cost, delays

The National Audit Office has today published the findings from its investigation into the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES), a new IT system to allow NHS organisations to extract data from all GP practice computer systems in England.

The key findings of the investigation have highlighted that the project has been significantly delayed, vastly over budget and, to date, only one customer, NHS England, has so far received data from GPES.

The original business case said the service would start in 2009-10, but it wasn’t until April 2014 that the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) provided the first GPES data extract to a customer.

Furthermore, the expected cost of the programme increased from £14 million to £40 million during the planning and procurement stage, with the project having at least £5.5 million of write offs and delay costs.

Perhaps most damning is that the time needed to design a new type of extract and restrictions in the contracts severely limit HSCIC’s ability to provide data to those who request it. It is unlikely that GPES in its current form can provide the NHS-wide service planned.

A spokesperson for the HSCIC told BBC News: “It is clear the procurement and design stage was not good enough.”

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