Care providers across England are to be given access to NHSMail once they have completed the entry level of the online Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT).
The DSPT is an online self-assessment tool for data security which ensures that organisations have the right processes and practices in place to manage and hold data safely.
It is mandatory for providers who provide care through an NHS contract, though all providers are encouraged to complete it if they hold, process and share data.
The entry level of the DSPT has been specifically designed for care providers as a stepping stone towards achieving the full toolkit.
Wendy Clark, executive director of product development at NHS Digital, said: “There are two key benefits to this entry level version of the DSPT.
“Firstly, it enables care providers to share information more easily and securely with the NHS.
“This can only lead to better, more integrated care for patients and improved ways of working for health and care professionals. Secondly, it supports care sector organisations to demonstrate to their regulatory body that they are managing and holding data securely and safely.
“Information will flow faster, with fewer delays and smoother processes, freeing up staff to focus on those in their care.”
The entry-level toolkit was developed in collaboration with the Care Provider Alliance, which was launched in 2018 with the aim of offering digital support for social care providers.
Mandy Thorn MBE, vice chair of the National Care Association, added: “The ability to complete the DSPT entry level to access NHSmail is welcome news for the care sector, giving us the confidence to know that we’re doing the right thing with the information of those in our care.”