Five years of Spine II celebrated by NHS Digital

NHS Digital is celebrating five years of Spine II being brought in house as the backbone of the NHS, saving the service £150 million in the process.

The Spine supports the IT infrastructure for health and social care in England, and connects clinicians and patients to essential national healthcare services, including the Electronic Prescription Service, Summary Care Record and the e-Referrals Service. Today, it supports up to 47 million transactions per day, which is four times the monthly average for the entire UK credit and debit card system.

The Spine is used by 500,000 healthcare professionals daily and it supports 28,000 IT healthcare systems across 21,000 organisations. A Summary Care Record, held on Spine, is accessed every four seconds, recording vital patient information needed in medical emergencies such as medicines and allergy advice.

Rob Shaw, deputy chief executive of NHS Digital, said: “The NHS Spine II has been a phenomenal achievement by everyone involved over the past five years. From the team that designed and built it after bringing it in-house to the staff that keep it running and performing to maximum capacity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Spine II has saved the NHS millions of pounds over the last five years while offering a service that can be trusted and relied upon at all times. The Spine has also allowed for greater information sharing across the NHS that improves the well-being of thousands of vulnerable children and young people.

"The Child Protection – Information Sharing system triggers around 10,000 safeguarding alerts every month through the Spine, covering more than 183,000 looked after and protected children in England, while the Female Genital Mutilation – Information Sharing system acts as a trigger to protect young women at risk of this barbaric practice.”

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