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Welsh GP practices offered a rethink of IT system after delay



GP practices in Wales are being given the chance to reconsider their choice of new IT system after it emerged that the version of Vision offered to GPs at a series of roadshows will not be ready in time for the switch.

In a letter to GPs, the Welsh BMA GP Committee said they ‘shared the anger and frustration of the profession at this development’.

Practices in Wales had to choose between Vision or Microtest after EMIS did not have its contract renewed in January.

GP leaders warned that dropping EMIS – which was used by half the practices in Wales – would cause ‘significant disruption’.

A majority of practices had opted for Vision 3 but have now been told that the upgrade will not be ready until November 2019, months after the January 2019 date for installing new systems.

GPC Wales told GPs that because the Vision system already in use meets specifications it is not a ‘legally viable’ option to delay or halt the process.

Instead practices who have chosen Vision have been given the option to reconsider.

In the letter to GPs explaining the extension to the decision process, Wales GPC chair Dr Charlotte Jones said: ‘It is in our view entirely unacceptable that a company should present a system in a competitive process when practices would have to make a selection for the next five years where it clearly ought to have known that it was not going to be available to practices when promised.

She added: ‘GPC Wales has raised a number of issues regarding the whole procurement process and we remain committed to lobbying for a comprehensive package of support to be available to practices during the migration process.’

Dr Steve Davies, chair of Bro Taf LMC said the practices who would be most affected were those who currently have EMIS, were forced to change systems and had opted for Vision 3.

‘Those who opted for Vision instead of Microtest will be in the unenviable position of migrating from Emis to Vision now, then having further disruption when the new Vision system is available.’

A statement from Vision said they were delaying the release in Wales by ten months to ‘ensure the new software has a sophisticated feature set that GP practices can rely on to care for their patients’.

‘Vision has a long-standing commitment to general practice in Wales, and we are determined to provide primary care teams with the very best healthcare software and services on the market.’

The news comes as GP practices in England may also be forced to switch IT systems, as NHS Digital plans to launch a tender for a new panel of system providers in January.