NHS explores ‘digital staff passports’

System is intended to make it easier for health-service workers to move between roles

Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images

The NHS is shortly to begin comprehensive research to support plans to create a “digital staff passport” that would allow employees across the health service to move more easily more between roles and organisations.

Plans to develop a digital passport system were first unveiled in September 2019. The intention is to allow workers to avoid unnecessary duplication of induction processes – which often take up an employee’s first two days in post. The system is also designed to reduce the need for pre-employment checks, meaning organisations can bring in staff more quickly.

The pandemic prompted the development of the Covid-19 Digital Staff Passport, an interim platform created to better enable full-time staff and bank workers to be deployed urgently. The technology includes embedded information including an individual’s basic personal details, as well as data on professional registrations, clearances and right-to-work checks.

The aim is to develop a long-term system for use throughout the health service.

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Research has already taken place on the movement patterns of trainee doctors – who can change role up to sixteen times during a decade-long training process.

The NHS is now seeking to conduct a research exercise that aims to “to help us better understand all NHS staff movements and how digital staff passports can benefit staff move seamlessly between NHS organisations”.

A supplier partner is being sought to assist in a three-month research exercise, scheduled to begin on 16 August. 

Firms have until tomorrow to bid for the contract, which will be worth up to £175,000 to the chosen provider. 

“We are now looking to engage a research partner to lead analysis and provide further evidence of all other NHS staff movements, including reasons for the movements and potential staff movements were the barriers to movement reduced,” the contract notice said. “This is to provide a greater understanding of the landscape, the current contractual and legal mechanisms used, and the challenges experienced by staff and organisations to inform future improvements in supporting staff movement and their experience.”

The project is being led by NHS England and NHS Improvement, in conjunction with NHSX.


Sam Trendall

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