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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

Spine technical information: Warrantied Environment Specification (WES)

Computer systems which access NHS England services through Spine have to meet certain technical standards. The Warrantied Environment Specification (WES) defines the client environments that we support and applications requiring a smartcard or other approved authenticator to be aligned with the terms and conditions.

NHS England WES

The WES defines the versions of software required to be installed on client machines in order that they are supported by NHS England to access NHS Spine systems and applications requiring a smartcard.

Use of client software versions which are not listed in the WES are not supported by NHS England for connectivity to NHS Spine systems.

If NHS organisations or system suppliers are using unsupported client software versions, connecting to NHS Spine systems will not be fully supported until migration to a supported version.

The WES defines the technical environments in terms of:

  • operating systems
  • browsers
  • Java virtual machines (JVMs)
  • smartcard printer drivers

NHS England strongly recommends that users and system suppliers consult the WES and assure themselves that all software versions currently in use are fully supported.

Check our software product support information to see when products like operating systems and browsers will stop being supported, to help with planning and service development.

Where environments being used do not comply with the WES, NHS England strongly recommends updating these environments to ensure continuity of service and support and incidents raised where unsupported versions of software are being used will not be accepted.

In addition to the information published by NHS England, organisations should also consult vendor support roadmaps to determine when underlying products, such as the operating system or browser, reach end-of-life. This should influence planning for the future to help ensure that deployed solutions have a long and supported lifespan.

The tables below describe the supported environment for each system listed. Windows Internet of Things (IoT) Editions are not supported.

Operating systems

NHS England Smartcard enabled system Window 8.1 and earlier Windows 10 (2) Windows 11
Care Identity Service application1 Retired Recommended Unsupported
Care Identity Management Retired Recommended Unsupported
SUS Retired Recommended Unsupported
e-RS - Professional Retired Recommended Unsupported
Spine EPS Tracker4 Retired Recommended Unsupported
Spine Reporting Service4 Retired Recommended Unsupported
Spine Demographic application4 Retired Recommended Unsupported
Spine TES Alert Viewer4 Retired Recommended Unsupported
Spine SCRa4 Retired Recommended Unsupported
Spine National Care Records Service (NCRS) Retired Recommended Unsupported
Spine MOLES (message tracker) and MESH UI Client4 Retired Recommended Unsupported
Spine MESH Client4 Retired Recommended Unsupported

Browsers

NHS England Smartcard enabled system

Edge (native)

Chrome (4) Firefox Edge (3) (non-Chromium) Edge (3) (IE mode) IE11 Safari
Care Identity Service application1 Recommended Recommended Retired Retired Deprecated Retired Retired
Care Identity Management Recommended Recommended Retired Retired Retired Retired Retired
SUS Recommended Recommended Retired Unsupported Deprecated Retired Retired
e-RS - Professional Recommended Recommended Retired Unsupported Retired Retired Retired
Spine EPS Tracker4 Recommended Recommended Retired Unsupported Deprecated Retired Retired
Spine Reporting Service4 Recommended Recommended Retired Unsupported Deprecated Retired Retired
Spine Demographic application4 Recommended Recommended Retired Unsupported Deprecated Retired Retired
Spine TES Alert Viewer4 Recommended Recommended Retired Unsupported Deprecated Retired Retired
Spine SCRa4 Recommended Recommended Retired Unsupported Deprecated Retired Retired
Spine National Care Records Service (NCRS) Recommended Recommended Retired Unsupported Retired Retired Retired
Spine MOLES (message tracker) and MESH UI Client4 Recommended Recommended Retired Unsupported Deprecated Retired Retired
Spine MESH Client4 N/A N/A Retired N/A N/A Retired Retired

Java

NHS England Smartcard enabled system JRE (32-bit)
Care Identity Service application1 Deprecated
Care Identity Management Retired
SUS Deprecated
e-RS - Professional Retired
Spine EPS Tracker4 Deprecated
Spine Reporting Service4 Deprecated
Spine Demographic application4 Deprecated
Spine TES Alert Viewer4 Deprecated
Spine SCRa4 Deprecated
Spine National Care Records Service (NCRS) Retired
Spine MOLES (message tracker) and MESH UI Client4 Deprecated
Spine MESH Client4 8, OpenJDK 11 and 17

 

Term Meaning
Recommended

This software is the version NHS England most strongly recommends being used as it will have undergone a high level of assurance and will be widely adopted.

Later versions may exist and can be used safely where also ‘Supported’.

Recommended versions should be used.

Supported

This software has been confirmed by NHS England as working satisfactorily in most settings and remains supported.

Supported versions may be older or newer than ‘Recommended’ versions.

Supported versions can be used.

Unsupported

This software has not been confirmed by NHS England as working as intended; it is either known to have specific issues or is insufficiently tested.

Organisations may choose to use ‘Unsupported’ versions, but NHS England cannot be held liable for any consequences of its use and will be unable to offer any help or support.

Unsupported versions should not be used.

Deprecated

This software is still supported (unless specifically noted otherwise) but is intended to become ‘Retired’ and be removed from active service.

Deprecated versions can be used, but their viable life is limited and we strongly recommend that NHS organisations put a plan into place to upgrade them to ‘Recommended’ or ‘Supported’.

Retired

This software must not be used as it is no longer supported and must not be expected to work.

Retired versions must not be used.

 

1 Care Identity Applications can be accessed via Chrome/Edge using NHS Credential Management, which also supports CMS (smartcard operations).

Chrome and Edge can also be used with the Chrome extension, but this is ‘Deprecated’ and does not allow the use of CMS (smartcard operations).

Citrix does not support CMS (smartcard operations).

2 The CIS application is warrantied against any version of JRE v8 (32-bit) up to and including v8.321, and Windows 10 up to and including v21H2 (64-bit).

3 Edge can be used in Enterprise (IE11) mode, but this requires a supported version of JRE v8, as per '2' above.

4 Chrome and Edge (Native) require NHS Credential Management (preferred) or the Chrome extension (Deprecated) to work with the Spine UIs and CIS Application.


NHS England approved authenticators Win 10 Win 8.1 and earlier Edge Chrome Firefox Safari
Android tablet 1 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Apple iPad iOS version 12 or above 2 N/A N/A No No No Yes
Windows Hello for Business with FIDO2 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Security keys - enabled in CIS2 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Smartcards Yes Yes Yes Yes No No

 

See our Smartcard guidance for IT support page for available device configurations for smartcards.

1 Currently not available

2 iPad devices need to be managed by a Mobile Device Management (MDM) system and will require the CIS2 authenticator app.


Further information

internal Software product support information

The expandable fields below describe the support status of third party products commonly used in conjunction with NHS Digital’s own products.

Last edited: 10 March 2023 12:43 pm