Headlines: August 19th, 2003

A newer and more reliable secure messaging service is being rolled out to NHS organisations. The NHS Information Authority says the new system meets Government network communications standards which all public sector bodies have to comply with by 2005.The Data Transfer Service (DTS) is replacing the X.400 messaging system which has been used for application to application messaging between computer systems and which will be phased out by November. The new service is seen as providing a centralised data transfer solution, cutting messaging transfer costs and doing away with the need for NHS organisations to have their own end-site messaging servers to handle incoming encrypted data. All data sent via the new system is fully encrypted ensuring the safety and security of information transfers.

Richard Corbridge, DTS migration manager, said the new centralised service meant that it would not be necessary for organisations and suppliers to redevelop or reconfigure software in order to comply with e-GIF – the Government’s Interoperability Framework. Agreements with BT Syntegra, the service providers, offer guaranteed delivery times and a web front-end that users can log into making it possible to monitor the progress of transfers.

To ensure all NHS organisations can take advantage of the new service the NHS Information Authority is working closely with system suppliers, who will undertake the necessary work to migrate organisations to the new service. So far 99% of GP system suppliers have signed contracts with the NHS Information Authority to provide the service and since June more than a thousand migrations have taken place from X.400 to DTS.

Further Information about the switch to the new system is available at www.nhsia.nhs.uk/nhsnet/pages/emailmessaging/dts and the authority has set up a helpdesk which is available on 01392 251289.