We recently had an incident at a local community pharmacy wherein the community pharmacy was unable to unlock their Smartcard for 24 hours. This was naturally a concern for the pharmacy and had a further impact on the business while they caught up with the backlog of business once their Smartcard was unlocked.
The LPC is in the process of exploring the incident and looking to embed some local solutions. However, in the meantime, this may be an opportune time to re-send the links to factsheets linked to Smartcards:
Better Managing Smartcards:
Dealing with Smartcards. Quick reference Guide:
Escalating Smartcard Issues Briefing:
Following the recent incident, there are a number of key messages in relation to Smartcards:
One of the key messages within this document, is that if community pharmacies have a Smartcard issue (e.g. staff have Smartcards stolen, or another issue) then the Registration Authority (RA) RA should be contacted in the first instance if it cannot be resolved within the community pharmacy or a nearby known supporting ‘buddy’ unlocker pharmacy.
Email means there is an audit trail and it is easier for local pharmacy contractors to then escalate further as required.
It is for pharmacy contractors to use both email and phone to chase up on their email requests ensuring a written audit trail of requests and responses.
New Smartcard readers and card admin rights for some pharmacies: Some pharmacy contractors should consider getting a second Smartcard reader admin rights so that one member of staff within the pharmacy can unlock the Smartcards of colleagues. PSNC has recommended within Smartcard guidance that each pharmacy contractor consider doing this.
More cards for staff: Strong recommendation that each staff member that uses EPS must apply to get a Smartcard (including Counter Assistants) and then it is checked from time-to-time that this remains active and functioning.
This provides some business continuity protection.
Note that Smartcards require renewal each two years. A warning appears in the final weeks when the card is used to login. Staff can self-renew if that is done before the two year deadline. After the deadline, RA assistance is required to ‘unexpire’ the card, because it has been deemed ‘expired’ if the renewal date passes before the renewal is carried out.