The 10 projects at the heart of NHS IT reveals which are on time - and which are running late

The Spine

The Spine is part of the NHS Care Records Service and the central database where electronic patient records known as summary care records are stored.

Find out more about the 10 key NHS IT projects

♦&nbsp NHS Care Records Service

♦&nbsp Choose and Book

♦&nbsp The Electronic Prescription Service

♦&nbsp N3 national broadband network

♦&nbsp Picture Archiving and Communications System (Pacs)

♦&nbsp The Spine

♦&nbsp The Quality Management and Analysis System

♦&nbsp GP2GP record transfer

♦&nbsp NHSmail- a central email and directory service for the NHS

♦&nbsp Secondary Uses Service

Only NHS staff, equipped with smart cards and pin numbers, will be able to access information on the Spine.

A messaging system directs requests for patient details to the various parts of the Spine where the information is held, and retrieves the details.

The Spine also supports Choose and Book and the Electronic Prescriptions Service.

What progress so far?

About 172,000 summary care records have now been uploaded to the Spine, less than 0.5 per cent of all UK medical records.

Earlier this year CfH said it would halt the rollout of summary care records beyond five early adopter trusts until it considered concerns over the way trusts asked for people's permission before uploading their records electronically.

In September this year, CfH changed the way patients could opt out of having their records uploaded to the summary care record system – so every patient now has to give permission before their records are viewed.

There are more than 516,000 smart card holders who are registered and approved for access to the Spine. Access to the data is strictly controlled, based on a member of staff's role and need.

Topics: Tech Industry


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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