Guidance

Performance Matters – Smartcard security

Performance Matters – Smartcard security

The LMC is regularly involved in representing and supporting doctors who have been identified as having “performance” issues. The LMC has identified a number of themes which recur, and this regular feature will highlight these, so that our members can avoid these pitfalls.

Information Governance – Smartcard security

IG may not always be the first thing you think of as you start your day. However, when robust policies are not in place, it can have significant consequences.

The LMC recently heard of a case where it transpired that a smartcard of one person was used by a family member also employed in the same GP surgery to prescribe controlled drugs for themselves on multiple occasions.

Initially the smartcard holder was thought to have issued the medications and faced significant external investigation (see link to our past article on prescribing for friends and family - https://www.lincslmc.co.uk/performance-matters-treating-friends-and-family/).

This case highlights the need for robust policies on IG, including smartcard use to protect yourself and your practice as well as your patients who need to be confident that the information within their medical record is kept safe, secure, and confidential.

Some basic elements of a policy should include:

  • Never allow anyone else to use your smartcard.
  • Never leave your smartcard unattended.
  • Never leave your smartcard in a smartcard reader when you are not using it.
  • Always keep your smartcard in a safe and secure place when not in use.
  • Any lost, stolen or damaged smartcards must be reported immediately to the local RA team or local smartcard administrator.

 

Further information on smartcards can be found at:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/smartcards-and-access-controls/#security-and-confidentiality

First Published
30 August 2023
Updated On
30 November 2023
Due to be Reviewed
6 November 2025
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