Introduction This chapter will attempt to show how the current situation in primary and community healthcare informatics has arisen as a consequence of policy decisions made in the past.

Up until the late 1980s, GP computing was a minority sport. (Primary care informatics was unheard of.) The reforms implemented in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which resulted in fundholding, the new GP contracts and the internal markets, led amongst other things to a rapid growth in the number of computers found in general practice.