Headlines: November 11th, 2003

The National Health Service has successfully completed the national roll out of a major new messaging service. Since June, almost 10,000 NHS organisations that use computer application-to-application messaging have moved over to the new Data Transfer Service, which replaces a system that no longer meets Government network communication standards.The NHS Information Authority says application-to-application messaging, known as electronic data interchange, allows family doctors and Primary Care Trusts to transfer safely a variety of messages including, patient registration details, GP payment claims and preventive screening information.

The new service provides a centralised data transfer solution that reduces messaging transfer costs and removes the need for organisations in the health service to have their own end-site messaging servers to handle incoming encrypted data. Data sent via the new transfer system is fully encrypted to ensure the safety and security of information. Agreements with BT Syntegra, the service providers, offer guaranteed delivery times. It also gives users a website they can log into to monitor the progress of the transfer of any information.

Tim Brenan, the Communications and Multi-media Manager at the NHS Information Authority said they had proved that fast and efficient migrations of key application systems could be achieved in a short space of time, even when the applications were carrying essential clinical administrative information. When the transfer of the old inter-personal email system to NHSmail has been completed, the existing X.400 service will be decommissioned and completely withdrawn by the end of January.