• NHSE/I and NHSX to launch temporary digital staff “passport” in coming weeks
  • Would include minimum amount of credentials that can be stored on phones
  • No date confirmed yet 

The NHS is set to roll out a temporary digital staff “passport” to enable staff to move around and between organisations more easily during the coronavirus pandemic.

New covid-19 guidance for workforce leaders has revealed NHS England and NHS Improvement are working together with NHSX to trial the passport “in the coming weeks”.

The passport could be stored on an individual’s smartphone. It would contain an embedded ‘licence to attend’ agreement, which can be used to grant access to clinical areas for specific purposes, and some verified credentials.

According to the guidance: “There will be no requirement for you [the NHS employer] to create a separate workforce sharing agreement if you don’t yet have one, and the digital passport with an embedded licence to attend will be available to participating employers nationally.”

The passport was originally announced by NHSE last September following several successful pilot projects. With the coronavirus outbreak putting a severe strain on the health service, it appears NHSE/I has chosen to implement it sooner rather than later to help make sure staff movement is as seamless as possible.

Other measures have been put in place, including the enabling staff movement toolkit which was introduced last July, with the aim of reducing the number of checks workers have to go through before joining another organisation. This began with junior doctors by helping them rotate more efficiently.

Meanwhile, workarounds have also been implemented at a local level, such as one between three mental health trusts in south London.

It comes as NHS staff are being drafted into a new field hospital in the east of London that will soon deliver the “first major wave of surge capacity”.

The Nightingale Hospital, which will be opened at the Excel London centre in Newham, could host up to 4,000 beds in two separate wards once it is up and operational.