Its first major deliverable will be data for the Quality Outcomes Framework from April 2013.
How will it work?
GPES is the only national means of extracting primary care data from general practice systems. It comprises two main parts and is being delivered by a number of IT services organisations. ATOS (external link) (Opens in a new window)have been awarded the contract to provide the tool that will produce the extract queries, whilst the extractions themselves will be conducted by the GP practice system suppliers - EMIS (Opens in a new window), TPP (Opens in a new window), Microtest (Opens in a new window) and INPS (Opens in a new window) (external links).
GPES will be part of the new process to provide payments to GPs and clinical commissioning groups. GPES will extract data from GP clinical systems to support payments to GPs and pass this to the Calculating Quality Reporting Service who will calculate the payments.
Opt Out Letter or Form - click on links below
caredata_opt-out_letter.doc (opens new window)
Opt out Form (opens new window)
Why is GPES being developed?
GP patient records are the most complete record of a patient's health within the NHS. They contain a wealth of information about patient care and provide a vital insight into the nation's health. GP patient records are currently extracted using a variety of systems that are both technically complex and resource intensive. GPES will resolve this issue by centralising the data query and extraction services, removing the complex scheduling processes and reducing the burden on practice staff.
By improving access to primary care data for the NHS and other approved organisations, GPES will support a diverse range of services and initiatives that aim to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness.
Who is responsible for GPES?
The service is being developed and centrally managed on behalf of the NHS by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) with the sponsorship and support of the Department of Health.
When will GPES be operational?
From April 2013 GPES will form part of the new process to provide payments to GPs and clinical commissioning groups. QMAS is being replaced and GPES will become the primary means for extracting data to support the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). GPES will extract the data, including year-end data, from GP clinical systems in order to support payments to GPs, although GPES will not calculate or make these payments - this will be done by the new Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS). More information about CQRS is available online (external link) (Opens in a new window).
GPES is of vital strategic importance and will play an essential role in the NHS's future information needs.
GPES – Questions and Answers
This document has been created to answer some frequently asked questions regarding the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES). If you cannot find the answer you are looking for here, please contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is GPES and what will it do?
GPES is a centrally managed primary care data extraction service that will be capable of obtaining information from all GP practices in England for specific and approved purposes whilst ensuring patient confidentiality and privacy.
When will GPES be available?
GPES is currently in development and its first major deliverable will be data for the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) and the Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) from April 2013.
Who is responsible for GPES?
The service is being developed and centrally managed on behalf of the NHS by the Health and Social Care Information Centre with the sponsorship and support of the Department of Health.
How will GPES be delivered?
GPES will be delivered by a number of IT services organisations. Atos have been awarded the contract to provide the query tool to extract data from GP practice systems, whilst the extractions themselves will be conducted by the GP practice system suppliers.
How can I learn more about GPES?
Keep checking the GPES web pages for regular updates on the delivery of the service or contact us by email via email@example.com.
Purpose / Policy Questions
What will the information extracted by GPES be used for?
GPES has the potential to improve patient care by collecting and coordinating vital information from across general practice clinical systems in England. By making this information available to the NHS and other approved organisations, GPES can support a diverse range of improvements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses.
Potential patient benefits could include:
Improving the screening of patients for serious conditions and therefore enabling treatments to be delivered quicker and more efficiently
better patient safety;
better visibility of major public health issues (e.g. enabling the NHS to monitor flu outbreaks and deliver services where they are needed); and
a greater insight into the uptake of vital medicines.
How will GPES support QOF (the Quality and Outcomes Framework)?
The first major deliverable for GPES when it goes live in April 2013 will be data for the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF).
QOF is a part of the GP contractual arrangements introduced in April 2004 and rewards GP practices for how well they care for patients rather than simply how many they treat, based on performance against indicators. At present, the data to support QOF is extracted from GP clinical systems and sent to the Quality Management Analysis System (QMAS), which uses the data to calculate individual practices' QOF achievement.
The Department of Health and the Health and Social Care Information Centre have agreed that once GPES is up and running, it will form part of a new service that supports payments to GPs under QOF. The Department of Health and NHS Connecting for Health are replacing QMAS with a new, more flexible, calculating and reporting system that is able to support the Government's proposals for GP Commissioning, this will be known as the Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/cqrs.
Together with CQRS, GPES will replace and enhance the service currently provided by QMAS. CQRS and GPES are required in order to provide the NHS Commissioning Board with a more flexible service. This partnership will allow it to deliver current and emerging outcomes data (and any related payments) for GP practices and Clinical Commissioning Groups, including QOF, and also the proposed Commissioning Outcomes Framework (COF). The resulting service will also have the functionality to support other national or local payment services devised by national or local commissioning arrangements.
By working with CQRS, GPES will be part of the new process to provide payments to GPs and Clinical Commissioning Groups. GPES will extract data from GP clinical systems in order to support payments to GPs, but GPES will not calculate those payments or make those payments.
Is GPES a data warehouse for primary care?
No, GPES is not a data warehouse. It is a data extraction service that will gather information from GP systems on request and use that information to help improve patient care.
GPES will operate to a set of principles that include:
Never extracting information without referral to an Independent Advisory Group which includes GP and patient representatives.
Only extracting the minimum information necessary for the required purpose.
Providing information to the general public on why we are extracting data.
Providing patients with the knowledge that their data is being used appropriately and securely for the benefit of patient care
Keeping patient data secure and restricting access only to those that need it for improving health services.
Checking that our customers - the users of the data - protect it and use it appropriately for approved purposes; and
Deleting the data we extract from general practice systems as soon as we have passed it on to our authorised customers.
Allowing patients to restrict access to their data
The GPES Information Governance principles document is available on the GPES website www.ic.nhs.uk/gpes/infogov. These have been approved by the National Information Governance Board and by the Medical Ethics Committees of the British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners.
Will GPES extract data from all NHS systems such as GPs, hospitals, dentists, mental health trusts and other allied services?
GPES will only extract data from GP clinical systems in England. The Health and Social Care Information Centre also collects data from the acute sector, in particular the Hospital Episode Statistics, however this will not be part of GPES. Learn more about Hospital Episode Statistics www.ic.nhs.uk/hes.
Which organisations will be able to request extracts of data from GPES?
GPES will be used by the Health and Social Care Information Centre to provide extracts of data from GP clinical systems on behalf of specific and approved organisations that has Department of Health sponsorship. Potential customers include; the Department of Health, Monitor, the Care Quality Commission and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The Health and Social Care Information Centre will manage all requests for data from GP clinical systems. Only where data requests have satisfactorily passed internal and external governance arrangements will GPES then seek to extract data and then wherever possible on an effectively anonymised basis.
The GPES Information Governance Principles document (pdf 174KB) explains in more detail our commitments to protect sensitive information.
Information Governance Questions
How will GPES protect the confidentiality of patient data?
GPES is committed to protecting sensitive information and has established Information Governance Principles (www.ic.nhs.uk/gpes/infogov) that have been approved by the National Information Governance Board and also by the Medical Ethics Committees of the British Medical Association and the Royal College of GPs.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre will manage all requests for data from GP clinical systems. Only where data requests have satisfactorily passed internal and external governance arrangements will GPES then seek to extract data and then wherever possible on an effectively anonymised basis (i.e. so that is does not identify individual patients).
The confidentiality and security of patient data is of paramount importance which is why GPES has established Information Governance Principles (www.ic.nhs.uk/gpes/infogov) which set out our commitments to safeguard the confidentiality of information in patient’s records. Each request for information will also be scrutinised by an Independent Advisory Group that includes members of the public and representatives from general practice.
Normally, data extracted will be anonymised, however where data that could identify patients is requested, it will only be released where a legal basis for disclosure exists (e.g. explicit patient consent).
Can practices opt out of extraction requests?
GP practices will initially be asked to make one general choice, supported by a data processing agreement between GPES and the practice: the practice will be asked to choose whether or not practice data may, in general, be extracted for queries outputting "effectively anonymised" data.
Practices will then be informed about each GPES query and asked to choose - on a query-by-query basis – whether to opt in. Where no response is received from a practice about a particular query, GPES will assume "no" and will not extract data.
GPES will always respect practice choices about access to practice data. It is expected that all practices will agree to certain essential extracts such as QOF (which is a planned GPES query). From April 2013 onwards the only way for GP practices to submit QOF data electronically will be via GPES.
When will general practices be asked to inform patients about GPES?
We are currently developing communications plans to prepare for - and support - the "go live" of GPES in April 2013. These plans are being drawn up in partnership with representatives of GPs and their practice staff and in consultation with our patient representative group. The plans will reflect their views on how patient communications should be delivered. Further information about the proposed timings, together with any materials that will be made available by GPES, will be shared with general practices in September 2012.
How did the HSCIC approve the technical solutions that GP system suppliers will use to extract data from general practices?
In order to secure the contracts with GP system suppliers for GPES, the HSCIC identified a set of requirements to be met. The system suppliers produced technical solutions that were reviewed before those contracts were signed. These solutions were looked at from a number of objectives:
The solution should be strategic and future proofed against the system supplier development plans
The solution should be capable of covering all practices
The solution should be technically robust and fit with the overall technical architecture for GPES
The solution should have sufficient capacity to deliver the proposed extractions including QOF, in so far as the demand can be quantified at this stage
The solution should be designed to have the minimum impact on the clinical systems where they are used for their primary purpose, i.e. direct patient care
The solution should provide minimal disruption to the working patterns of GP practices
The solution must comply with the law (including data protection)
Has any provision been made to encourage GP system suppliers to provide a local solution to provide payment verification (or QoF type) data?
GP system suppliers are building their solutions to meet the requirements laid out by GPES, which allow for a local, central or a combined architectural approach. The solutions have been designed by the GP system suppliers to ensure the required capacity can be achieved, given the shape of their existing solutions. We are assuring these solutions against our requirements. These requirements include the ability to provide QOF data to the HSCIC so that this data can be transferred appropriately to the Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS), the new payment calculation tool that will replace QMAS. The reporting functionality from CQRS is currently being developed but any additional information service for QOF from the GP system suppliers to their GP practices will be for the suppliers to determine and are not part of the GPES or CQRS contracts
Are there any requirements that clinical system providers have to adhere to if practices are unable to adopt a supplier’s hosted GPES solution (for example to provide data for QoF?
It is anticipated that GP practices will use the technical solution for GPES agreed between the HSCIC and the GP system suppliers. The GPES architecture and solution has been designed to ensure minimal impact on the GP practice staff and GPES is currently working with groups of GPs and practice managers to assure the approach.