Report on General Practice Extraction Service published: What did the NAO find?

Further spending is needed to improve or replace the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) according to the findings of the National Audit Office’s investigation.

The committee, who stand independently from the government, have released a report this morning that highlights the many issues surrounding the IT system, designed to extract information from General Practices relating to enhanced services.

The failures of the system have meant that practices have been manually entering QOF data, creating extra workload for staff working in an already stretched primary care.

The services’ launch has been delayed numerous times after the system was transferred to the HSCIC in April last year, and findings state that ‘the system test did not reflect the complexities of a ‘real life data extract and was not comprehensive enough to identify these problems.’

The GPES service was signed off & paid for by Department of Health officials (who were at the time working for the NHS Information Centre), despite the system not being fit for purpose. The original estimated cost of the project was, at this point, £14 million – this has since ballooned to £40 million, with £5.5 million in write offs and delay costs. NHS England is the only customer to have so far received data from GPES, and that was four years later than originally planned.

One reason for the system failure, according to the report, included a change in procurement strategy by the NHS Information Centre (NHSCIC) and ‘waterfall’ project management methods.

The report also states ‘It is unlikely that GPES in its current form can provide the NHS-wide service planned,’ also adding, ‘the HSCIC have recognised the failures highlighted and have already put in place a remediation plan which will replace those parts of GPES that do not work to provide a suitable data extraction service in the future.’

Responding to the report, the HSCIC said “We are working hard with system suppliers to ensure that together we ensure GPES runs at full capacity and that new contract negotiations move forward in a positive way”.

For more information visit the National Audit Office website.

 


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