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  • Writer's pictureDavid Harper

Smartcard – Cards, Codes and Access

Smartcards; The beginning

Having a Smartcard you can freely use in different pharmacies is vital as a locum. With the introduction of the CPCS service, and the role of a pharmacist constantly diversifying, your smartcard is an important (and sought after) tool to have. Some pharmacies won’t book a locum without one. Having the locum 5F code on your smartcard means you can use it freely in any pharmacy. Having Summary Care Records access is essential in the delivery of the CPCS service.

There are three steps to having a smartcard suitable for use as a locum:

1: Getting the physical smartcard.

2: Having the locum code (FFFFF) applied to your smartcard.

3: Applying for Summary Care Records access on to your smartcard.

In this blog we’ll offer some advice on how to get through all the steps. We’ve put this advice together as a result of our dealings with locums, RA authorities and pharmacies alike.

Step 1; Getting the card

Your first port of call in getting your physical card is to contact your local CCG and ask to speak to the RA Authority. They are responsible for the issue and management of Smartcards in your area. Most RA authorities will take any necessary details from you and arrange a date for you to go and get your picture taken and collect your card.

Step 2; Getting the locum code

Step 2 is the most difficult to achieve and, typically, the most important. Your RA Authority will advise you what they require before enabling locum access on your smartcard so speak with them first.

Some RA authorities only apply the locum code when the locum already has 5 unique ODS codes applied to their smartcard. To be blunt, can be very tricky for a locum to achieve. Here are some tips to try and acquire 5 unique ODS codes.

  1. For any advanced bookings you have that allow for time for you to do this; call ahead and ask to speak to the store manager.

  2. The manager should be able to advise you who the store sponsor is for smartcard procedures; it might even be them to begin with.

  3. When speaking to the sponsor, advise them you are due in the future and ask them to apply the store ODS code to your smartcard. (Have your smartcard with you at this stage as they will need your card details).

  4. Advise the store this is essential for you to be able to request SCR access for their branch (more about this below) and provide CPCS services.

This will be a trial and error process, some stores will be happy to help but some may feel it’s not necessary for a variety of reasons. But please persevere and it will pay off!

Step 2 B; Getting the locum code – other methods

Another route is being able to demonstrate that you work at short notice. Your RA should let you know if this is an option when you ask them what they require for locum access. Working short notice means you do not have enough time to have the ODS code and SCR access applied to your smartcard before the shift. If you can, email your RA with a statement explaining why you need locum access and the details of the short notice shifts you have completed (when they were booked and when they were completed).

Finally, following the recent introduction of CPCS, Bolton and Greater Manchester LPC have worked with the local RAs and introduced a quick, easy online system for all locum access requests.



Step 3; Getting Summary Care Records Access (SCR)

The step by step process on how locums gain approval for, and then get SCR access enabled on their smartcard is detailed below:

  1. CPPE E-learning and E-assessment is completed

  2. Application form for addition of SCR roles to the smartcard is completed a. Enter FFFFF in the box on question 7 where it asks for an ODS code b. Answer YES to question 9.

  3. Depending on the application details, NHS Digital will then approve the addition of the role to your smartcard with (i) the local Registration Authority (RA), (ii) the National RA for FFFFF role additions, or (iii) both.

  4. NHS Digital will copy the RA request email to you. It may take a few days for roles to be applied but you can contact your local RA if the role has not been applied within 7-10 working days.

  5. You can then access SCR.

Please note: Neither NHS Digital or your RA will tell you when you have been granted SCR access. When you initially apply they should send you an email acknowledging your application. There should be a NHS number for a test patient. Keep this email safe, you can use the test patient number in a branch to test if you have been granted access.

Additional information for Smartcards

List of RA Authorities and contact details: Click Here

NHS Digital SCR in Community Pharmacy Page: Click Here

Disclaimer: Please note that this advice is based from our experiences dealing with some CCG/RA Authorities across the country. Some CCGs operate differently to the majority so this advice may not apply to you.

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