The use of a virtual smartcard and streamlined processes for physical cards has been given the green-light by NHS Digital.

The organisation has centrally procured a virtual smartcard solution with Isosec, making the licences available immediately and ensuring that NHS organisations can quickly access new physical smartcards.

The cards are designed to give new staff faster access to hospital systems.

The process for verifying new users has also been streamlined, while still maintaining security. This involves a remote verification system by video call, so that social distancing measures and remote working can be supported.

These measures will support NHS organisations to get new and returning members of staff onto NHS systems quickly and smoothly.

The announcement is especially important for the new Nightingale Hospitals where thousands of staff need to be verified and onto systems quickly.

Patrick Clark, programme director for the Covid-19 access logistics hub at NHS Digital, said: “With the new virtual smartcards and our increased capacity to rapidly provide large volumes of physical smartcards, we hope to be able to provide the NHS frontline with the systems and services they need to meet the challenge posed by Covid-19.

“Our aim to is to be responsive to the needs of the NHS and social care and to put in place whatever measures possible to reduce their burden.

“We want to ensure that NHS staff don’t have to spend time thinking about things like smartcards or access to systems because the processes are in place to make this as easy as possible.”

This follows the news that trials of digital ‘staff passports’ will be taking in the coming weeks to make it easier for healthcare workers to move between organisations during the coronavirus pandemic.

These passports and smartcards are the focus of our next digital responses to Covid-19 webinar taking place on 9 April.

Join the webinar to learn more from the team involved on the project and see it demonstrated and have your chance to put your questions to them directly. Presenters include Phil Graham, digital programme director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Phil Stradling from NHSX.

Register here.