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Working with the wider supplier community

IT services to the NHS are currently provided by a mix of local service providers (LSPs) and National Application Service Providers (NASPs), as well as many other existing system providers (or ESPs) who contract directly with NHS organisations to provide their services.

NHS Connecting for Health supports the delivery of better IT services for the benefit of NHS patients, wherever they are treated, so it works with ESPs as well as LSPs and NASPs to deliver an improved overall service.

In total, NHS CFH now works directly with more than 80 ESPs in order to deliver services and applications to more than 23,000 sites where care is delivered. Where central contracts with NHS CFH are not in place - these suppliers are nominated by the local care organisations that receive IT services from them, and thus extend services to the following care settings:

  • General practice
  • NHS acute, community, child and mental health
  • Independent sector
  • Community pharmacy
  • Social care

NHS CFH predominantly works with ESPs to implement links to the Spine, such that locally-installed systems can interact with the new NHS CFH-provided systems.

Systems that connect to the Spine in this way are often referred to as 'Spine Compliant' systems. Their status in being able to safely interact with the Spine is only confirmed by NHS CFH on completion of a set of rigorous testing and service introduction processes, known as the 'Common Assurance Process' (or CAP).

Working with industry in general

NHS CFH engages with numerous industry groups including Intellect, the UK IT suppliers association.

In September 2011, the Department of Health announced a new partnership with Intellect. View the Joint Plan for action .

Working with ESPs in the general practice care setting

In 2007, NHS CFH launched the GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) framework. This framework funds the provision of GP clinical IT systems in England, whilst ensuring that systems meet clear information, security and quality standards.

GPSoC therefore allows practices and primary care trusts (PCTs) to benefit from a range of quality GP clinical IT systemsthat work with the new national systems delivered by the NHS National Programme for IT.

Working with ESPs in the NHS acute and mental health care settings

NHS CFH has been working with the core patient administration system/electronic patient records system providers within the NHS acute and mental health care settings since 2004. This has enabled numerous acute and mental health core systems to develop links to the Spine and Choose and Book services, enabling electronic appointment booking and patient choice throughout England.

NHS CFH also works with a small number of specialist middleware providers who enable the provision of Commissioning Data Set returns to the Secondary Uses Service.

NHS CFH is also working with the supplier and Trust community to develop and implement standards based interoperability and information sharing solutions as part of our Interoperability Toolkit initiative.

Working with ESPs in the community pharmacy setting

NHS CFH has been working with ESPs active in the community pharmacy setting since 2004, enabling the first electronic prescriptions to be sent from GP surgeries to community pharmacies via the Spine in early 2005.

For further details please visit the Electronic Prescriptions Service.

Working with ESPs in the independent sector care setting

NHS CFH works with a number of IT suppliers to the independent sector and as part of our NHS Business Partners programme.