About Registration Authority (RA) cards

What is a Smartcard, and why do I need one?

In order to access some national systems and applications, healthcare professionals are required to be registered on the National Spine and issued with a Smartcard. You will need to speak to your manager to authorise a request for a Smartcard.

The service responsible for managing and administering this process is known as the Registration Authority (RA). The RA are responsible for identifying and granting appropriate profiles/access rights to users via their sponsors and issuing Smartcards to users.

Additional help

Please read the guidance on this page but if you cannot find an answer to your questions please raise a support request via our Self-Service Portal.

If your query is urgent please follow up with a call to 01209 881717.

  • Your Smartcard’s UUID (the 12-digit number on the front of your Smartcard, below your photograph).
  • The time and date the fault occurred (if applicable).
  • Any screenshots that you think will help us understand the problem
  • The steps you have followed, which have led to the error.
  • Any error messages returned (with screenshots)

Managing my account

How do I apply for a Smartcard?

If you have never had a Smartcard before please log a call to CITS Service Desk via the Portal or by calling 01209 881717, please include your first name, last name, nhs email address and mobile phone number, we’ll then be able to start your Smartcard application. You will receive an email containing a link from Apply for Care ID, please follow the link in the email and follow the steps to complete the application. Please provide your work address for the delivery address. Once your application has been approved, our team will print your new Smartcard and send it to you.

When your card has arrived the first thing you must do is let us know that your Smartcard has arrived, we will then share the passcode with you. The second thing you must do is read the leaflet that came enclosed with your Smartcard.

If there is no Smartcard reader in the side of your laptop or on your keyboard please do let us know and we will provide you with an external card reader.  

I’ve forgotten my passcode and my Smartcard is locked, what do I do?

Your Smartcard will become blocked after 3 consecutive failed login attempts. All users who have an email address associated with their Care Identity profile can use this link to renew their Smartcard passcode

Can I change my own passcode?

Yes, you can change your own passcode, if your email address is linked to your Care Identity profile. Your new passcode will need to be 6-8 digits long. Simply follow this link for simple step by step instructions

What do I do if my name changes?

You should contact your local Sponsor/HR department. You will need to provide proof of name change – i.e. Deed poll certificate, Marriage/Divorce certificate or Gender recognition certificate.

What do I do if I am leaving?

If you are leaving the Healthcare or organisation permanently, you need to return your Smartcard to your local sponsor who will return it to the Registration Authority Team.

If you are moving healthcare organisations, retain your Smartcard but inform your local Sponsor and the RA Team which organisation you are moving to.

Lost, stolen and damaged cards

I have lost my Smartcard, what should I do?

You should contact the CITS Service Desk immediately by calling 01209 881717 to report your card lost. The Registration Authority Team, will remotely cancel your Smartcard and arrange a new card. Any cards remotely cancelled cannot be reactivated.

My card has been stolen, what should I do?

You should contact the CITS Service Desk immediately by calling 01209 881717 to report your card lost. The Registration Authority Team, will remotely cancel your Smartcard and arrange a new card. Any cards remotely cancelled cannot be reactivated.

My Smartcard is damaged and doesn’t work, what should I do?

You should contact the CITS Service Desk by the Portal or by calling 01209 881717 to report your card is damaged. The Registration Authority Team, will remotely cancel your Smartcard and arrange a new card.

Smartcard Security

If my colleague has a Smartcard but left it at home, can I lend my card to them as we have the same access?

No, you have a duty to always keep patient information secure and confidential. Your Smartcard provides you with the appropriate level of access to the healthcare information that you need to carry out your role. Your Smartcard is a token of your identity and any access to patient data using the card will be auditable to you. You should therefore treat your Smartcard as you would a credit or debit card:

You must never:

  • Share your passcode, always keep it safe, secure and use it appropriately.
  • Never allow anyone else to use your Smartcard.
  • Never leave your Smartcard unattended
  • Never leave your Smartcard in the Smartcard reader when you are not actively using it.
  • If your Smartcard is lost, damaged or stolen, contact your local Registration Authority (RA) immediately (the contact details can be found on the last page of this booklet). They will cancel your card and replace it as soon as possible.

What do I do if my card is used by someone else?

If your card is used by someone else:

  • Inform your Registration Authority manager/agent and line manager immediately.
  • Change your passcode.

Never share your Smartcard. All transactions made when your Smartcard is in use are recorded for audit purposes. Access is audited, and you will be held accountable for any inappropriate transactions made using your Smartcard, whether you were responsible for them or not.


How long are my Smartcard certificates valid?

The certificates on your Smartcard allow you to authenticate your identity and connect to NHS Spine systems and services. These expire after 3 years. You will be prompted to renew your certificates by the system close to expiry.

My Smartcard certificates are due to expire, what should I do?

You should Self Renew your certificates following the prompts on screen.

Failing this, please contact your local Sponsor who will be able to renew your certificates if they are due to expire within 30 days. If the certificates have already expired or failed to update, please contact the CITS Service Desk, you will need to visit an RA Agent for your card to be renewed.

Glossary of terms

CIMCare Identity Management
CP-ISChild Protection – Information Sharing
CRSNHS Care Record Service
e-GifeGovernment Interoperability Framework, is a scheme for ensuring the inter-operation of computer-based systems.
EPSElectronic Prescription Service
eRSNHS e-Referral Service
ESRElectronic Staff Record
HSCICHealth & Social Care Information Centre
IGInformation Governance
LSALocal Smartcard Administrator
ODSOrganisation Data Service
PDSPersonal Demographics Service
PortalNHS Spine Portal
RARegistration Authority
RiOHealth & Social Care RiO Child Health and Child Health Records
SCRSummary Care Records
SpineNational Health Service Spine
SystmOneCentrally hosted Primary Care health system
UUIDUnique User Identity

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