Registration Authority Factsheet

What is the NHS Care Records Service Registration Authority?

The NHS Care Records Service Registration Authority is responsible for registering and verifying the identity of NHS staff who need to use the NHS Care Records Service and related IT systems and services, including Choose and Book and the Electronic Prescriptions Service. Access to these computer systems and services is controlled by smartcards with photographic ID and passcode, similar to a chip and pin credit card. Registration Authorities issue smartcards to authorised staff with an approved level of access to patient information. This is essential to protect the security and confidentiality of every patient's personal and healthcare information.

Why do we need the Registration Authority?

It is important that everyone who will have access to patient information has been through the same, rigorous identity checks. The level of access to patient information an individual will have will be decided by their role. For example, an outpatients' receptionist will have access to some patient information, but not the same level of clinical detail as a GP or consultant. The Registration Authority allocates each individual the appropriate level of access, once this has been agreed.

How will the Registration Authority work?

Local organisations have responsibility for establishing their own Registration Authority service. This may be within a trust, a shared local health community service, or a wider shared service. Within each local Registration Authority, a larger number of user registration sponsors will be identified (likely to be operational heads, managers or administrators within a practice, clinic, ward or department). A sponsor will be required to support every registration application. The sponsor will also identify the level of access an individual should have, based on centrally defined guidance. Local Registration Authorities are responsible for the three-stage registration process: validating users registering user profiles issuing smartcards.

When will I need to register?

The NHS Care Records Service is being gradually phased in across England over the next six years. Rollout of the elements of the NHS Care Records Service supporting Choose and Book and the Electronic Prescriptions Service is already underway. As new systems and services are implemented in your organisation for which you require access to the NHS Care Records Service, you will need to register. Your local organisation will keep you informed about the timetable for implementing systems and services in your area and when and how you register.

What is involved in the registration process?

Registration is a three-step process:

1. Validation

You will need to complete an application form (called the RA01 form). You will also need to provide evidence of your identity (for example your passport or driving licence), or have your identity vouched for by your sponsor. Your sponsor will need to agree the level of access to information you should have, based on your job profile.

2. Registration

You will be registered as an authorised user. Details of your name, job role, level of access and organisation will be stored in the national user directory.

3. Issue of smartcard

Your photograph will be taken and printed on a smartcard on which your user details are stored. You will be asked to select your private login passcode. Finally, you will be able to test your card.

Can I be sure my personal data will be safe?

All personal data held by the Registration Authority will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Where you are asked to provide evidence of your identity, only a record the type of identification provided will be logged along with a unique personal identification detail for example your National Insurance number. This information will only be available to registration personnel.

Where can I get more information?

For further information please contact your local HR department or strategic health authority chief information officer.

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