Quality Payments – Warranted Environment Specification (WES)

Quality Payments – Warranted Environment Specification (WES)

To be eligible to collect the points necessary to claim a Quality Payment, community pharmacy contractors must meet five gateway criteria, one of which is that on the day of the review:

‘The contractor must have consulted the NHS Digital Warranted Environment Specification (WES) and/or their System Supplier(s) and have reassured themselves, and can demonstrate, that all their operating system and browser versions currently in use in their pharmacy to link to NHS Digital systems, such as the Electronic Prescription Service and Summary Care Record, comply with the WES; and are therefore supported by NHS Digital for connectivity to NHS Spine systems.’

Computer systems which access NHS Digital services through the Spine (which require a Smartcard) have to meet certain technical standards. The Warranted Environment Specification (WES) defines the systems that NHS Digital supports.

This is a new gateway criterion for the February 2019 review point.


Click on a heading below for more information

NHS England guidance

NHS England has published new guidance on the February 2019 review point of the Quality Payments Scheme.

The new guidance should be read in conjunction with NHS England’s previously published gateway criteria and quality criteria guidance:

  • NHS England – Pharmacy Quality Payments Gateway Criteria Guidance (published 23rd December 2016); and
  • NHS England – Pharmacy Quality Payments Quality Criteria Guidance (published 27th February 2017).

These documents are all available on the NHS England website.

How to achieve this gateway criterion

This criterion has been introduced to improve cyber security by ensuring that computer systems which access NHS Digital services through the Spine meet certain technical standards for operating systems and browsers and are therefore supported by NHS Digital. Operating systems and browsers that do not meet these standards have been identified as a major threat to the cyber security of NHS Digital systems.

The Warranted Environment Specification (WES) defines the versions of software required to be installed on user systems in order that they are supported by NHS Digital to access NHS Spine systems and applications requiring a Smartcard.

WES compliant operating systems and browser versions

The operating systems listed in the current WES, and are therefore compliant are:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows 7 SP1 32-bit / 64-bit
  • Windows 8.1 32-bit / 64-bit
  • Windows 10 64-bit

The browser versions listed in the current WES, and are therefore compliant are:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 11
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox

Contractors are required to confirm that the operating systems and browser versions that they are using when accessing the NHS Spine at any time conform to the WES requirements, and if not, work with their system suppliers to update to one listed above by the 15th February 2019 review date.

If a contractor is not sure if they currently meet the WES gateway criterion, please see the ‘Validation of criterion’ section below for further information.

Checking which operating system and browser version you are using

Contractors can check that all the operating system and browser versions currently in use in their pharmacy that link to NHS Digital systems, such as the Electronic Prescription Service and SCR comply with the WES by accessing https://www.whatsmybrowser.org/. You can then check that the operating system and browser version being used is acceptable in the current WES; a list of acceptable operating systems and browser versions are listed on page 21 in the NHS England Quality Payments guidance for the February 2019 review point.

Please note, contractors should access this website on all computer systems in the pharmacy which link to NHS Digital Systems to check that all systems comply with the WES.

The declaration process

Contractors will be required to confirm through the NHS BSA online declaration page (the portal will go live on Monday 4th February 2019 at 9am and will be available until Friday 1st March 2019 at 11.59pm) that their operating systems and browser version comply with the NHS Digital WES.

Validation of criterion

NHS Digital will validate this criterion when a pharmacy accesses the NHS Spine through connection to the Summary Care Record (SCR) and so pharmacies must log-in to the SCR system at least once prior to the review date between 14th November 2018 and 15th February 2019.

For information ahead of the declaration window, NHS Digital will provide details of which contractors have been assessed as complying with the WES to enable contractors to take appropriate action. This will be sent out to each pharmacy contractor’s shared NHSmail account out in early 2019 and will detail whether the contractor has met this gateway criterion or not from the information available at that time.

Contractors that have been assessed as not meeting this gateway criterion will get regular updates on this assessment until the end of the declaration window or until they have been validated as meeting the WES. Contractors who have been confirmed as meeting the WES requirements will not receive repeated emails confirming compliance, but they should keep the original email as evidence of compliance.

FAQs

FAQs on the Quality Payments Scheme can be found on the Quality Payments – FAQs page.

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