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December 14, 2018

Critical IT Infrastructure NHS Spine Hits a Billion Transactions a Month

NHS Spine was until 2014 run by BT

By CBR Staff Writer

NHS Spine, a key component in the NHS’ IT infrastructure, which is run in-house by NHS Digital, has reached the landmark of a billion transactions a month.

The NHS Spine is developed and maintained by NHS Digital and their SME partners. The service facilities the movement of data between key sections of the national service such as the Electronic Prescription Service and the E-Referral Service.

Due the growing nature of digital sevices, NHS Spine has experience a surge in the number of transaction it is required to process, accumulation in the platform processing 3,500 messages a second when data transfer is at a peak.

Currently the NHS Spine supports 21,000 care organisations across the country in conjunction with 28,000 NHS IT systems.

The system enables NHS staff to access the stored 65 million summary care records and 92 million personal demographic records through a secure network.

NHS Spine

The milestone of a billion transactions a month was passed in October and is more than four times the average load on the UK’s entire credit and debit card transaction system according to NHS Digital.

Rob Shaw, Deputy CEO and Managing Director of Platforms, Infrastructure and Live Services  said in a released statement: “It’s such an exciting time for technology and as uptake of digital services and applications continues to build, vital infrastructure like the Spine must continuously evolve to meet the demand of our NHS staff 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

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“Bringing the system in-house and building it entirely on open source software has allowed us to make quick and easy changes to keep up. We’re now two years running delivering regular releases and providing highly available service.”

The NHS Spine IT infrastructure is also the main means that NHS worker access Summary Care Records. This records contain vital patient information that has been created by the logged medical records of General practitioner across the UK.

The records are vital to NHS staff and patient outcomes as they list what current medication a patient is open and lists any allergies or negative reactions the patient has had over the course of their medical history.

See Also: NHS Ordered to “Axe the Fax”

Originally the systems was run by BT, but in 2014 the NHS took it back under their own control and began to manage the system in-house.

NHS Digital claims that this: “decision to bring the system in-house in 2014 has saved the NHS £26 million per annum in running costs, 750 working hours per day and is cutting 90% of response times.”

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