NHS Choices contract worth £80 million over three years
The contract to run the Department of Health's NHS Choices patient website has gone out to tender and is worth between £60 and £80 million over three years.
Earlier this year the health IT company Dr Foster Intelligence was given the contract to set up the service and run it to March 2008.
The site currently gets over 1.5 million visits a month and offers healthy living information and an A-Z of treatments and conditions. But a large part of the site involves health service directories and allows patients to search for GP practices.
GPs are being encouraged to upload details of their practices to the site, which acts as a 'MySpace' for GPs, say the developers. Last week Pulse revealed that one in three practices has uploaded its details to the site.
Ministers plan to use the information to get surgeries to compete for patients and the site also carries details of all surgeries' performance in the hugely controversial Patient Experience Survey plus QOF scores.
A spokesperson from the Department of Health said the figure to run the site was comparable to the cost of other large government web services.