NHS Spine reaches one billion monthly transactions

NHS Digital has announced the 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.

The figure, reached during October, is more than four times the average load on the UK’s entire debit and credit card transaction system.

The growing number of transactions were as a result of increased demand in digital services across the sector. The secure platform handles at peak 3,500 messages a second.

Developed and maintained by NHS Digital and their SME partners, 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. It helps doctors to decide quickly on life-saving treatment, assists paramedics in reaching those most in need and informs social workers when a vulnerable child needs them.

It 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.

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% of response times.

Rob Shaw, Deputy CEO and 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.”