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New NHS chieftains put docs' software bill on their tab

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The NHS Commissioning Board will continue to pump cash into the GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) scheme, which funds approved clinical software for doctors - adding to the list of erstwhile National Programme for IT projects that it will maintain centrally.

The board, which will take responsibility for running the NHS in England from next April, has added GPSoC to the projects it will continue to fund nationally. These already include the N3 national broadband network used across both England and Scotland (the successor to which has been dubbed N4) and the Choose & Book electronic booking system.

In an online bulletin, the board said that the 212 planned clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) - which will replace primary care trusts from next April - will be responsible for the provision of the GPSoC systems, hardware, networks, support services and training in GP surgeries.

To support CCGs in doing this and other work, the board will host 23 local commissioning support units (CSUs, previously known as commissioning support services), which will provide back office services including IM&T, payroll, HR and business intelligence. Earlier this month, the board said it had so far appointed 15 managing directors to run individual units.

As revealed last week, the Department of Health also hopes to maintain the national NHSmail email service, used in both England and Scotland with 150 organisations making it their only email system, under a 10-year £207m contract with Cable & Wireless. The department has established a project - NHSmail 2 - to explore the options for achieving this following the contract's expiry in 2014.

This article was originally published at Government Computing.

Government Computing covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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