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NHS DSP project

The NHS Digital Staff Passport project is part of a wider programme of work, led by the NHSE Enabling Staff Movement team.

Read more about the NHS DSP service.

Or read on for more details about the project background.

On this page:

What is ‘passporting’?

Moving between NHS trusts traditionally results in NHS employees repeating important, yet time-consuming, pre-employment checks and training.

A digital method to streamline the process is required, to benefit NHS employees completing the move, plus the NHS teams who support the administration of workforce movement.

It sounds simple, yet previous attempts had limited success due to the technical, legal and cultural intricacies of widespread adoption across an infrastructure as complex as the NHS.

Reaching agreement on the quality of eligibility and suitability checks of NHS employees, how their data is consistently stored and securely transferred, plus applying the underpinning legal frameworks, has been a significant challenge.

The term ‘passporting’ is used to describe the method, process or system to enable the transfer of NHS employment records from one NHS trust to another.

Read on for detail of how NHSE is working in partnership with other NHS teams and the wider policy makers, on passporting initiatives, to create a safe, effective and vibrant marketplace for NHS digital identity and NHS digital passports.

Current passporting solutions:

All passporting solutions have their limitations, so choosing the best solution to meet the specific user need is crucial.

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What are the drivers of the NHS Digital Staff Passport project?

The NHS Digital Staff Passport (NHS DSP) is critical to achieving the NHS People Plan ambition to ‘enable staff to more easily move from one NHS employer to another' (page 49).

Further supported by other national NHS strategies:

Read more about the NHS DSP service.

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What did the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport do?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary movement of NHS employees was required to provide mutual aid to the newly established Nightingale sites and the NHS trusts who had staff shortages and/or substantially increased numbers of patients.

The existing temporary movement process, honorary contracts, can take up to two weeks to complete. A quicker and easier method was urgently required.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport (C-19 DSP) was launched to meet the demand for NHS employees to move between NHS trusts on a temporary basis.

The service supported both the response to and recovery from the pandemic, to enable NHS trusts to work flexibly to reduce waiting lists and upskill NHS employees.

Watch the four minute overview animation of the C-19 DSP.

Many case studies were created from the variety of uses by staff groups and networks, including vaccination centres, vascular, cancer, pathology, diagnostic imaging, gynaecology, urology, burns units, major trauma, speech and language, and cardiology.

Prior to decommissioning in September 2023, 117 NHS trusts had been registered with the service and issued over 1,300 digital staff passports.

This first version of the Digital Staff Passport for the NHS provided the cornerstone to establish NHS passporting and enabled the programme to develop the next version, the NHS Digital Staff Passport service.

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What is the NHS Digital Staff Passport service?

Building upon the success of the interim COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport, the NHSE Enabling Staff Movement (ESM) team, alongside its delivery partners, is developing the next iteration of the Digital Staff Passport service.

Read more about the NHS DSP service.

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What is the timeline of the NHS Digital Staff Passport project?

The high-level development timeline shows the project stages of development and implementation of the NHS Digital Staff Passport service.

NHS DSP Timeline

Implementation of the service will be rolled out incrementally, to allow the service to be thoroughly tested by each Wave of NHS trusts.

Each Wave will highlight areas of improvement for the service, be it part of registration, the technical product or the support service.

The NHSE ESM team actively seeks feedback, to ensure the NHS DSP service continues to develop iteratively. Read more about contributing the development of the service.

There are five Waves planned.

NHS DSP Adoption Roll-out

  1. Wave 1
    • Includes a small number of NHS trusts (circa four), who have worked closely with the NHSE ESM on the development of the NHS DSP since 2021
    • These NHS trusts were identified based on several eligibility criteria, including resources and number of NHS employees moving temporarily and/or Postgraduate Doctors in training rotating to/from the trust
  2. Wave 2
    • Includes a larger number of NHS trusts (circa twelve), who have also worked with the NHSE ESM team since 2021 and met the same eligibility criteria
    • These trusts chose Wave 2, to benefit from the lessons learned from Wave 1
  3. Wave 3
    • Includes NHS trusts taking a system approach to implementation
    • Read more about the system approach
    • Trusts in Wave 3 are likely to be those who were registered with the C-19 DSP service and are keen to resume the digital first approach to onboarding
  4. Wave 4
    • Includes NHS trusts taking a system approach to implementation
    • Read more about the system approach
    • Trusts in Wave 4 are likely to be those who were not registered with the C-19 DSP and are keen to benefit from the lessons learned from Waves 1-3
  5. Wave 5
    • As per Wave 4

Read more about the NHS DSP service.

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Who is delivering the NHS Digital Staff Passport project?

The NHSE Enabling Staff Movement (ESM) team sit within the Workforce Training and Education directorate.

The ESM programme focuses upon delivering solutions to ease the movement of NHS employees across the NHS, including:

  • ESM toolkit – a framework for NHS employee movement, featuring guidance and case studies
  • Electronic Staff Record interface – supporting the connection to third-party systems, to enable NHS employee records to contain up to date Occupational Health and Learning Management System information
  • The NHS Digital Staff Passport – a digital service enabling NHS employees to use their smart phone to share employment, education and training details, and occupational health details with NHS trusts 24/7, to support moves between those trusts

Read more about the NHSE ESM team on the NHSE website.

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Want to help the NHS DSP develop?

Feedback surveys are built into the NHS DSP service, to allow NHS trusts and NHS employees to provide suggestions for improvement.

However, you do not need to be registered with the NHS DSP service to contribute to the development.

If you are a Postgraduate Doctor in Training or an NHS employee temporarily working in another NHS trust under an honorary contract or secondment, we are looking to hear from you.

The NHS Digital Staff Passport team run a monthly feedback session to share product development ideas, review prototype designs and provide an opportunity for you to provide feedback.

To request an invite to the session, please email england.digitalstaffpassport@nhs.net, referencing the ‘NHS DSP Feedback Session’.

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