In October 2018, total monthly transactions on the NHS Spine, the NHS’s core information sharing infrastructure, reached one billion. The system was often handling upwards of 250,000 users simultaneously, but achieved 99.99% reliability throughout the year.
The Care Identity Service is used by staff to log on to the Spine. It handled an average of 8.5 million unique logins a month in 2018-19, with 99.98% reliability.
NHSmail added 200,000 new accounts to take its total user base to 1.5 million and operated with 99.99% reliability.
We also saw a steady growth in the use of important services on the Spine. The NHS e-Referral Service saw a steady increase in volumes. Bookings peaked at just under 1.4 million in October 2018, a 40% increase on the previous year.
About 1.5 million more Summary Care Records (SCR) were accessed in 2018 than in 2017, up 24%, and the number of patients with additional information on their SCR grew 14% to 2.2 million in the three months to December 2018 alone.
This extra information – such as medical history, immunisations and background on medications – can give clinicians vital context when making decisions about patients they don’t know.
We introduced important new services. NHS 111 online processed over one million searches a month. The Data Security and Protection Toolkit was launched in April 2018, providing organisations with an online resource to measure their performance against the National Data Guardian’s 10 data security standards. Over the course of the year, more than 27,000 organisations including all trusts in England completed their baseline assessments and the service maintained a 99.9% availability rate.
The NHS App went live in December 2018 and is expected to significantly increase the public’s use of services including appointment booking, electronic prescriptions and 111 online.
Since 2017, we have been transferring the operation of established services out of development programmes and consolidating them in the Live Services and Cyber Security directorate. Removing services from project silos allows us to realise economies of scale and develop better supplier management, product governance, clinical overview, change assessment and day-to-day delivery across our services.
The services and products that have moved into Live Services are NHSmail, the Health and Justice Information System, Summary Care Record and Summary Care Record application, the Spine Mini-Services Provider, Interface Mechanism 1, Digital Learning Solutions and the Lorenzo (DXC) contract.
In 2019-20, we also plan to move the Child Protection - Information Sharing system, the e-Referral Service, the Electronic Prescription Service, Advanced Threat Protection, Apps and Wearables and the National Data Opt-out systems.
We are also working to establish new services in the coming year, particularly systems connected to Data Processing Services and the replacement for the GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) contract being developed by the GP IT Futures programme.