NHS Digital's plans for enabling every locum in England to have a work email address are coming together, and as part of that they need to do some in-vitro testing on 140 (70 from NASGP, 70 from BMA) real living, breathing GP locums.
The team at NHS England have been working closely with NASGP and our friends in the GPC Sessional GP subcommittee to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible, for what no doubt will be a huge number of GP locums requiring an NHS email address.
Having a work email address isn't by any means unusual - most organisations would issue you with one on your first day of work. But with locums having no fixed organisational work address, it's been a lot trickier, especially with the NHS being one of the world's largest employers. And it's also not going to be a general panacea for the large information void we so often find ourselves in as locums, but it's a good start.
NASGP has been allocated 70 'seats' in this pilot, which we expect will be very popular, so if you're an NASGP member living in England who doesn't currently have an NHS email address, you can volunteer here by completing this short form.
All GPs are eligible for an NHS email ('NHSmail') account, regardless of whether you're a partner, locum or salaried, and is an essential requirement for your practise as a GP in the NHS.
From March 2020, GP locums in England can register online.
If you're not in England, either ask the IT person in a practice that you get on well with to 'sponsor' you, but failing that your local Primary Care Organisation, or its equivalent, is under obligation to issue you with one.
If you already have an NHS email address from your role as a salaried GP or partner, probably 'branded' with your practice's name, you are entitled to keep it. Speak to your local IT helpdesk (CCG or equivalent) and they will simply change your 'brand' to the CCG's or equivalent.
Don't take no for an answer, and explain that you need it to access certain courses such as online safeguarding training, for NHS appraisal (in many cases) as an appraisee, and as a GP to pass information securely about patients.
This article has been updated to reflect the increased number of volunteers for the pilot.