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NHS Spine hits 1 billion transactions per month


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The NHS Spine has reached the milestone of one billion transactions in a month for the first time.

NHS Digital has reported that the figure was reached during October and is more than four times the average load on the UK's entire debit and credit card transaction system.

The Spine provides the infrastructure for the secure sharing of information through national services in the English NHS such as the Electronic Prescription Service, Summary Care Records and the e-Referral Service. It is used by more than 500,000 health and social care workers and supports 28,000 healthcare IT systems in 21,000 care organisations, providing access to over 65 million summary care records and 92 million personal demographic records.

The one billion milestone has been portrayed as a vindication of the decision, taken in 2014 and implemented by early 2016, to bring the management of the system in-house and to run it on open source software. It was originally developed as part of the NHS National Programme for IT in the mid 2000s.

Time and money saved

NHS Digital said the move in-house has helped to provide savings for the NHS of £26 million per annum in running costs and 750 working hours per day, and is cutting 90% of response times.

It is planning to add further services to the Spine soon, including the National Record Locator Service – giving clinicians sight of all records – GP Connect and Digital Child Health.

Rob Shaw, deputy CEO and managing director of platforms, infrastructure and live services said: “Bringing the system in-house and building it entirely on open source software has allowed us to make quick and easy changes to keep up. We’re now two years running delivering regular releases and providing highly available service.”

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence 3.0

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