Locums and Smart Cards
Following some recent reports to the LMC of Locums saying they didn’t need to use Smartcards I have been asked to write something to explain why they are important.
Firstly there is considerable variation between practices on this – many do not routinely set up Locums smartcards or ask for them at all which helps to make Locums feel that they are not really needed. After all as a Locum we can log on to the clinical system with our password, see a patient, type the notes and issue prescriptions so why do they matter?
A smartcard is a digital (as well as a physical) form of ID. It will allow you access to the ‘full’ patient record. This means the ability to upload changes to the summary care record and importantly the ability to use the Electronic prescription service which is currently being rolled out across Somerset. Without a Smartcard my understanding is that you will not be able to use this service to sign prescriptions electronically and send them directly to a pharmacy.
From my point of view it also helps to minimise the amount of passwords you need to remember as once your card is linked to the practice system (EMISweb etc) then you can log in using your Smartcard and password – one password for all practices! Now that has to be better.
If you are a locum and do not have a card or have a card that is out of date then firstly ask a practice where you work if they can help you apply for a card. If this is not possible then you can contact James Gibbons (South West Commissioning Support) firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com who will advise how to obtain one.
In summary Smartcards are important and all practices should be setting Locums up to use them routinely. By the same token all Locums should have one and be prepared to use it.
Dr Tim Horlock
LMC Locum Representative