NHSmail has been opened up to social care providers who can show they have the necessary understanding of data security.
NHS Digital, which runs the service, has made it available to social care providers who complete the entry level of its Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT).
This provides an online self-assessment tool that is mandatory for those who provide care through an NHS contract – although NHS Digital has urged all providers to complete it if they hold, process and share data.
It has developed the entry level of the DSPT in collaboration with the Care Provider Alliance. It is time-limited and is a stepping stone for providers towards completing the full toolkit, showing how they comply with data protection legislation and best practice.
Wendy Clarke, executive director of product development at NHS Digital, said: “There are two key benefits to this entry level version of the DSPT.
“Firstly, it enables care providers to share information more easily and securely with the NHS. This can only lead to better, more integrated care for patients and improved ways of working for health and care professionals.
"Secondly, it supports care sector organisations to demonstrate to their regulatory body that they are managing and holding data securely and safely.
“Information will flow faster, with fewer delays and smoother processes, freeing up staff to focus on those in their care.”
NHSmail is free to social care providers and can be accessed from mobile devices and desktops. It includes a full directory of all users.
Image from psd.scot.nhs.uk, Open Government Licence