Smart Card Update

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Electronic Prescription Service Issue 21 – January 2015

Electronic Prescription Service


Important : Smartcard Changes

feature imageThe introduction of the Care Identity Service (CIS), which will replace all the current Smartcard authentication and management applications, will take place next month. When the old service switches over to the new service, either late night on Saturday 21 February or the early hours of Sunday 22 February 2015, anyone using the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) at that time will notice a brief interruption to Smartcard authentication.

For most people, the downtime will last just a few seconds, but for others it could take up to five minutes before they can re-authenticate to Spine. At switch-over, users’ active sessions will terminate and they will be logged out. After this very short loss of service they will need to log back in to restore access.

If your Smartcard certificate is due to expire during the transition period
During the transition period, Smartcard certificates cannot be renewed. If you are prompted to renew your Smartcard certificate, don’t delay so you don’t lose access to your systems.

Smartcard series 01, 02 and 03 should be replaced before transition
When the new service goes live, users with old series 01, 02 or 03 Smartcards will not be able to renew their Smartcard certificates when they expire, or unlock their card should it become locked. Please look at the back of your Smartcard (in the bottom right hand corner on the back). If the first two numbers are 01, 02 or 03 you should contact your local Registration Authority (RA) staff to request a new card. If the numbers are 04, 05 or 06 you do not have to take any action.

Unlocking Smartcards after transition
Talk to your Registration Authority staff about having a Local Smartcard Administrator in your pharmacy (a person assigned with the role B0263 on their Smartcard), to assist with unlocking and certificate renewal. RA staff can also advise about Short Term Access Cards.

See the CIS website or talk to your Registration Authority staff for more information.

BSA Hints and Tips

feature imageThe latest edition of the BSA Hints and Tips newsletter is now available and includes a wide range of information about EPS, including an explanation of the EPS payment schedule and the top 10 ways to make EPS work better for you.

Patient Online

feature imageNHS England’s Patient Online team are hosting a series of webinars to support practices, CCGs and CSUs with the implementation of online services. You can ask questions, learn from other practices and find out how to access local support. For details visit the NHS England website.

Business Continuity Matters

The January edition of CPN from PSNC includes information about EPS business continuity.  The IT trouble-shooting guide for pharmacy systems, identifies the steps to take when you are confronted with a range of scenarios, such as Smartcard reader failure or prescriptions that can’t be retrieved. The Prescription Tracker can also help if you have IT problems.

Repeat Dispensing e-learning

The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE), University of Manchester has developed a new interactive e-learning programme for repeat dispensing. Even if you have completed the previous programme, you will find this new edition useful to update your knowledge on the developments within repeat dispensing. Find out more.

Waiting Room Information


There is a short video on the EPS website which can be used in a GP waiting room to explain EPS to patients.

GP practices which have Envisage Media can now also download the video to show in their surgeries.

Closure of the NHSmail SMS and Fax services

feature imageUsers should already be aware that the NHSmail fax service ( and the NHSmail SMS service ( will close on 31 March 2015. For existing primary care users only, NHS England will provide a replacement SMS service from 1 April until 30 September 2015. Attempts to send fax and SMS messages via NHSmail after 11.59 pm on 31st March will be unsuccessful. More details available on the NHS England and HSCIC websites.