NHS ‘Spine’ infrastructure successfully replaced

The NHS Spine has been successfully replaced, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC.

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The NHS Spine has been successfully replaced, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

The Spine is part of the core national NHS IT infrastructure, joining up patients, clinicians, databases and applications. It stores patient data, facilitates electronic prescriptions and provides secure messaging for 1.3 million NHS employees.

HSCIC announced this week that all of the Spine core services and messaging moved across to the new infrastructure - dubbed ‘Spine 2’ - over the bank holiday weekend.

The NHS has been working on building ‘Spine 2’ over the last two years using open source components such as the Riak database and RabbitMQ messaging using the Python programming language.

It used G-Cloud to contract UK consultancy BJSS to help build the platform in a series of iterative, incremental developments.

The services moved across in phases in order to minimise disruption and ensure continuity of availability. The new infrastructure will now undergo 45 days of intensive monitoring to ensure it performs as expected, the HSCIC said.

The Spine was managed by BT and originally developed as part of the disastrous National Programme for IT (NPfIT), a project launched in 2002 which aimed to build a single electronic care record for patients, accessible by GPs and other clinicians.

It was scrapped in 2011, resulting in losses of about £10 billion.

 

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