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Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

Logging into the NHS e-Referral Service

This page provides instructions on how to access the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS).

How to access e-RS

Insert a smartcard and expect to be prompted for a passcode

After inserting a smartcard, the Identity Agent software should immediately become active with the blue and white icon bottom right of the screen flashing. After a few seconds a prompt to enter a passcode will be presented. Examples of what this should look like are shown below (differences with the screens depend on which version of Identity Agent is installed):

Identity agent password prompt - example 1

Identity agent password prompt - example 2

Logging onto the Spine

After entering a valid passcode and successful authentication by the identity agent software, a role selection pop-up screen will be displayed. If the screen does appear use the e-RS URL:

Note: Internet browsers - user are recommend to use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge to access e-RS. To enable these browsers to work a Chrome Plugin is required. Details of how to install this, on both Chrome and Edge can be found on the NHS Digital website.

Find out more about support for Internet Explorer 11 being withdrawn.

Depending on the authorised smartcard roles, there will be one or more available for the card holder to choose:

Role selection pop-up screen - example 1
Role selection pop-up screen - example 2

If there is only one role available, the GemPlus icon should show a blue light and the pop up, which appears when the mouse pointer is placed over the icon, should describe it as “GemAuthenticate : Active”.

GemPlus icon

"GemAuthenticate: Active"

A pop-up window confirming your name and authorised role should be visible for a few seconds:

Pop-up window confirming name and authorised role

NHS e-Referral role selection page

If the card used has multiple business function roles, then e-RS displays a drop-down list of possible login roles, for the user to choose from:

e-RS role selection screen
Alternatively, if the user has only one business function, the system will automatically log in to the user's homepage.

The NHS e-Referral Service homepage

Once e-RS has successfully loaded, a screen like the images shown below is displayed depending on the role profile of the user.

The following screen will be displayed for referrers:

e-RS home page for referring clinicians

The following screen will be displayed for providers:

e-RS home page for provider clinicians

Supporting information

Further information can be accessed through the:

Glossary of terms

Gemplus - software is required to be installed on the user’s machine to enable smartcard access

Identity Agent – software is required to be installed on the user’s machine to enable smartcard access

Smartcard – this is needed to gain access to the e-RS. Each smartcard contains a digital certificate, which is checked against the NHS staff database, and authenticates the user. Further details can be found on the smartcard pages of the NHS Digital website.

Last edited: 14 September 2021 3:54 pm