General Practice Administration System for Scotland

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GPASS, General Practice Administration System for Scotland, is a clinical record and practice administration software package that was previously in widespread by Scottish general medical practitioners, but had largely been replaced by 2012.

GPASS was established in 1984, building upon software originally developed by Dr David Ferguson, a general practitioner (GP) in Glasgow and software developer.[1] It was owned by the Scottish Government and developed and supported by the NHS Common Services Agency of Scotland. Originally written in the BASIC programming language, GPASS was redeveloped for the Unix operating system and then moved in the mid-1990s as NewGPASS onto the Windows platform. Version 5.7 of the software was in use in 2006. An additional interface, GPASS Clinical, is in active development.[citation needed] It came to be widely used with 800 Scottish general medical practices (around 80% of the primary care doctors in the county) using it as a clinical record and practice administration software.[2]

Its development has often been criticised as sluggish and lagging behind other more sophisticated systems like EMIS and Vision. Many of its supporters though cite its public ownership as a positivum.

In January 2006 details of a software problem emerged, where text had been truncated in some instances.[3] In Spring 2006 a decision was reached by the Scottish GP representatives (the British Medical Association's Scottish LMC conference) to call for immediate abandonment of any further development as the software was hopelessly out of date and "not fit for purpose". The Scottish Executive dismissed in a report to parliament some of these complaints as secondary to inadequate hardware rather than inherent problems within the software.

In November 2006 a report to the Scottish Executive from Deloitte on General Practice Information Technology Options recommended a move to commercial alternatives. However, the report noted that currently available commercial systems were no more suitable for purpose than GPASS. Further, it was noted that no single supplier of clinical database systems is likely to be able to meet the requirements of the Scottish Executive as at the time of the report's publication.

The Scottish Government made the decision to retire the GPASS system and in July 2009 a procurement was started with the intent of finding suitable commercial systems to replace GPASS. The planned date for retiral of the GPASS service is March 2012.


  1. ^ Helms, Peter J.; Daukes, Suzie Ekins; Taylor, Michael W.; Simpson, Colin R.; McLay, James S. (June 2005). "Utility of routinely acquired primary care data for paediatric disease epidemiology and pharmacoepidemiology". British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 59 (6): 684–690. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2005.02404.x. PMC 1884863. PMID 15948933.
  2. ^ "Independent report agrees with GPs -GPASS software is not up to the job". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 3 December 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Patients put at risk by NHS computer fault". Scotland on Sunday. Johnston Press. 7 January 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2015.

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