NHS Spine reaches one billion monthly transactions

NHS Digital has announced that NHS Spine, which supports the IT infrastructure for over 500,000 health and social care workers in England, has reached the milestone of one billion transactions in a month for the first time.

Achieved in October, the milestone figure is more than four times the average load on the UK's entire debit and credit card transaction system. The secure platform handles at peak 3,500 messages a second, with the increased volume of transactions an expected result of increased digital demand in the NHS and social care sector.

The Spine allows information to be shared securely through national services such as the Electronic Prescription Service, Summary Care Records and the e-Referral Service, aiding doctors in deciding quickly on life-saving treatment, assisting paramedics in reaching those most in need and informing social workers when a vulnerable child needs them.

The 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 per cent of response times. NHS Spine supports 28,000 healthcare IT systems in 21,000 care organisations across the country, providing secure access to over 65 million summary care records and 92 million personal demographic records.

Rob Shaw, managing director of Platforms, Infrastructure and Live Services said: “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. 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.”

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