BT today announced that it will be linking GP surgeries in north Nottinghamshire and making them year 2000 compliant as part of a £5.8 million project.
The project, called Primary Care Sector, is the first major Private Finance Initiative (PFI) type contract to have been awarded in the health service. It will cover four Primary Care Groups in the area, linking up 43 out of a potential 62 GP surgeries to the Nottinghamshire Health Authority's Community of Interest Network (COIN).
BT will network them together using fixed link connections so that they will not incur additional call charges for the surgeries. The network will also provide links to both the Health Authority and the NHSnet, the health service Intranet.
The network is being funded by a combination of central NHS modernisation funding and existing Health Authority IT budget allocations.
BT expects to finish the project in September this year, three months ahead of the government's deadline for GP connection to the NHSnet. BT will be responsible for the subsequent operation, support and maintenance of the project for the next five years.
"We were faced with a big challenge," said David Rainey, head of BT Health. "The existing IT 'network' was sporadic and supplied by six individual GP system suppliers."
"The challenge was for one provider to deliver a single, completely managed solution by working in strategic partnership with these six suppliers," added Rainey.
The strategic clinical systems suppliers working with BT and general practices across the North Nott's district are AAH Meditel, The Computer Room, In Practice Systems, Aremis Soft, Amis and Torex.
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