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Practices cut off from electronic prescribing service by IT glitch

GPs are being left unable to access electronic prescriptions and other online services because of an ongoing fault with swipe card authentication.

The problem with the NHS Spine IT infrastructure means that some users have been unable to access swipe-authorised services since Thursday, with problems persisting despite an overnight fix by BT.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre said it did not know how many practices had been affected by the glitch, although around a third of practices use the electronic prescribing service.

It has advised practices experiencing difficulties to restart their systems, before contacting service support.

A spokesperson for the HSCIC said: ‘We have identified an issue with smartcard authentication which may have caused difficulties for some users in accessing Spine services both yesterday and this morning.

‘BT deployed an overnight fix but this has not fully resolved the issue, although service has improved.’



Readers' comments (3)

  • Problems with EPS, problems logging to hosted systems, problems with Choose and Book.

    We are luddites who refuse to move away from our LAN based system. Our downtime over the past few years has been measured in minutes, compared to days (or weeks) with some of the newer hosted systems.

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  • The New NHS spine uses No-SQL rather than previous SQL based systems. This increases the availabilty but No-SQL does favour instant availability over data consistency (ACID) test.
    The real test will be when many are online and 2 people edit the same data at different sites at the same time.

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  • Spine functions include the SCR - both upload of changes in medication *and* access by emergency services, Choose & Book and GP2GP as well as EPS2.
    So two days of prescription issues, no update of the SCR (probably less important as presumable no-one will be able to access it) and no C&B referrals - not even 2W cancer referrals.
    With the new spine, do all GPs/pharmacies/emergency services/hospital & other Trusts and, where Community uses spine-enabled services for direct patient care need to include loss of spine services in their Business Continuity Plans?

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