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Electronic prescribing

Delay to planned management change of NHS smartcard system

A planned change to the management of the smartcard system used by pharmacists in England when accessing the electronic prescription service has been delayed to enable further testing.

The current service, known as the Care Identity Service, is managed by BT on behalf of the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). The HSCIC originally aimed to take over management of the service in November 2014 but the switchover has been pushed back until at least early 2015 to enable further testing.

“The rescheduled date has been necessary to allow further assurance and planning activities to take place,” says an HSCIC spokesperson. “We want to carry out some final testing to verify a consistent high level of service performance and resilience before we transition.”

The spokesperson says the changeover will make “no difference” to the way pharmacists access the central NHS IT system, known as the spine.

Around 11,300 pharmacies use a smartcard to log on to the electronic prescription service via the spine. There are more than 250,000 smartcard users who depend on this service to access the spine and deliver patient care, according to HSCIC figures.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20067263

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