Setting up access to IT could cost NHS a quarter of a million hours

The NHS stands to lose more than 160,000 hours in the working time of doctors, nurses and other health staff as they register for smart ID cards which give them access to new national IT systems.

The time to be spent by hundreds of thousands of NHS staff in registering for smartcards and Pin codes is necessary for the security of systems that will allow authorised users to access a database of 50 million patient record summaries and other systems.

Paul Cundy of the British Medical Association’s GP IT committee said the registration process will be a “big burden for the NHS”, reports Personnel Today’s sister publication Computer Weekly.

Early adopters of the system in Barnsley have expressed concerns that it takes 10 minutes at best and typically between 12 and 20 minutes to issue a smartcard to a member of staff, the magazine revealed.

When this is multiplied by the number of smartcard users, the total time spent by the NHS on the registration process, including its more 660,000 clinical staff, would be between 160,000 and 266,000 hours.

A spokesman for the body overseeing the commissioning and implementation of new systems for the NHS, Connecting For Health, told Computer Weekly: “Early-adopter sites provide us with feedback that we use to improve what we do as we roll out further to the NHS.

“We are in discussions with human resources on the most effective and efficient way of operating the registering process.”

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