Smartcards used to manage mobile junior doctors’ identities

The NHS has extended a smartcard scheme that allows hospitals to verify the identities of junior doctors and 4,000 graduating medical students.

Doctors in training may move many times among hospital trusts, all of which have to verify their identities and credentials to practise safely.

The smartcard scheme gives doctors a single secure card carrying personal and health clearance information, helping NHS trusts speed up the administration processes involved when they move between assignments.

The smartcard, developed with identity technology firm TSSI Systems, carries the doctor’s name and photograph, with other data accessible to authorised NHS trust staff through a chip and Pin system.

The identity, health status, General Medical Council registration status and criminal records data stored on each doctor’s smartcard are verified against a central database.

Previous manual systems often meant junior doctors and medical students having to repeat blood and immunisation tests every time they moved between trusts.

The smartcard scheme, linked directly to the General Medical Council’s UK-wide registration database, already covers more than 35,000 junior doctors at 250 hospital trusts. 

Barbara Levy, occupational health smartcard programme manager at the NHS, said: “It is up to every doctor under their professional code of conduct to prove they are safe and fit to practise, and the card allows them to do so securely and consistently throughout their careers.”

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