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NHS England - Transformation Directorate

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Digital staff passport

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To support the COVID-19 response, an interim COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport has been developed to enable safe and rapid staff movements between NHS organisations.  

The interim COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport is the first step by NHS England in their ambitions to build a Strategic Digital Staff Passport to use technology to simplify staff movement between NHS organisations, as outlined in the ‘We are the NHS: People Plan for 2020/21 – action for us all’.

This guidance provides a summary of the information governance (IG) steps which need to be taken so that the Digital Staff Passport can be set up safely and efficiently within an NHS organisation. This allows authorised staff to temporarily work at another NHS organisation more quickly and safely. Digital Staff Passports are not available in social care organisations.

Guidance for patients and service users

NHS staff undergo rigorous pre-employment checks before they begin work to ensure they are able to provide safe care to patients. This includes professional registration, qualifications and criminal records checks.

The COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport enables information about these checks to be quickly shared between NHS organisations. This means that staff can move safely and promptly between different NHS organisations. An example is a respiratory doctor whose services are urgently required at another hospital to treat patients with COVID-19. The passport allows the doctor to quickly assure HR staff that they are cleared to work.  

This guidance advises on the information sharing requirements to ensure that Digital Staff Passports are set up appropriately.

Guidance for healthcare workers

As a temporary member of NHS staff, you can choose to sign up for a COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport. This will standardise and speed up the sharing of information allowing you to temporarily move to a different NHS organisation promptly and with ease. You will hold your own verified record securely on your own smartphone in a mobile app. The information contained as part of the passport will only be shared with your consent and is as follows:

  • Name, date of birth, national insurance number
  • Photograph
  • Basic details relating to employment checks – including Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and right to work information
  • Professional registration details
  • Basic details relating to current employment – including employing organisation, job role, staff group, department, start date (and fixed term end date, if appropriate), pay band, work email address, smartcard number
  • Occupational Health clearance confirmation.

Find out more, including how to get a COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport if you would like one.

Guidance for IG professionals

If your organisation is invited to register for the interim COVID-19 Digital Staff Passports, your organisation’s HR director will receive a registration pack containing a number of different IG related documents to support you. 

To participate in the scheme, your organisation must have an organisational code. This is a unique code created by the Organisation Data Service (ODS) within NHS Digital and is required to access national systems. It is used to identify organisations across health and social care. 

Your organisation is not required to use the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) system with the passport system. When ESR is in place, HR users can transfer data from ESR into the Passport. If ESR is not in place, the organisation can manually enter the data into the passport system.

To participate your organisation must also be covered by the NHS Resolution’s indemnity scheme for non-clinical risks such as Employer’s Liability. Independent providers that deliver NHS contracts may be eligible if they confirm they have this cover or equivalent private insurance.

The IG process to sign up should be straightforward and should not cause a delay to your organisation’s registration. In conducting the process, the usual privacy legislation obligations and principles apply. These include the following five steps:

  • Complete the DPIA - an NHSE assured sample DPIA together with a pre-acquisition document will be provided to support you.
  • Read the data processing agreement and advise your HR department that you accept the terms.
  • Review the privacy notice and advise your HR department you accept the terms and provide your DPO’s email address.
  • Review this and advise your HR department you accept the terms.
  • Refer to the technical information pack for any questions you might have, for example, in relation to security and architecture.

All these template documents will be sent to your organisation if it is invited to register.

If you have any questions about the registration process contact

Further Information

Find out more about Digital Staff Passports. This includes an overview of the complete registration process.

Setting up a virtual evaluation clinic for follow-up glaucoma patients