The NHS Information Centre has announced it will receive around £40m of funding to enable clinical data to be extracted from GP practices.

The centre also confirmed that the first contracts have been awarded to deliver the service.

The GP Extraction Service was unveiled in August, and is set to go live in September next year. The system will enable the NHS Information Centre to extract coded clinical data from otherwise incompatible GP computer systems across England, standardising it to enable statistics to be pooled nationally.

The Information Centre announced that it will receive around £40m of Department of Health funding to implement and manage GPES up to 2015-16.

Atos and EMIS have been appointed to supply technical elements of the service, the Information Centre said.

The firm has signed an £8m, five-year deal to supply software that will produce queries enabling specified data sets to be extracted from GP systems.

EMIS, which is one of several suppliers of GP clinical systems, has also signed up to the scheme. A Information Centre spokeswoman declined to say how much the deal was worth, as negotiations are continuing with other GP system suppliers. The main system suppliers are all expected to be on board by the end of January, she said.

The DH hopes that GPES will make it possible for the NHS to use primary care clinical data to reduce inequalities, tackle inefficiency and improve the quality of care.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said “robust information governance principles” would keep sensitive information confidential.

He said: “Despite nine out of 10 contacts with the NHS taking place in primary care, only a relatively small amount of information exists centrally about it. GPES will remedy this by providing a data extraction service that can bring together some of the rich data that exists in different GP practice systems and present it in a single and consistent format.”

As previously reported by HSJ, GPs will have the choice to opt out of any GPES data request.

Ministers backed the service last month, when the chancellor’s Growth Review said the service would enable patients to be tracked through primary and secondary care data sets  for the first time.