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This page was last updated: September 13th, 2021

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. A list of some of the systems we use with a Smartcard are listed on the NHS Digital website. 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 explore the tabs available 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 88 1717.
Please put a description of the problem in the support request and include:

  • 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)

Lost, stolen & 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 remote cancel your Smartcard and arrange a new card. Any cards remote 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 remote cancel your Smartcard and arrange a new card. Any cards remote 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 remote 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 keep patient information secure and confidential at all times. Your Smartcard provides you with the appropriate level of access to the healthcare information that you need in order 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 – never share your passcode, always keep it safe, secure and use it appropriately.

You must never:

  • Allow anyone else to use your Smartcard.
  • Leave your Smartcard unattended.
  • Leave your Smartcard in the Smartcard reader when you are not actively using it.

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.

Managing my account

Self-Service Unlock

When a NHS Smartcard is locked or a PIN forgotten, the card can be unlocked and the PIN reset, without having to visit an RA or sponsor.

The User must first be registered for Self Service unlock in the process outlined as below.

Only the person to whom the card has been issued can register for the unlock process.

How to Register for Self-Service Unlock

Log in to your profile page on CIS via: (Do not use Google Chrome) and then selecting “Launch Care Identity Service” from the list of available options. Within the Care Identity application select “My Profile” from the menu options on the right-hand side.

This process should take no longer than a few minutes by following the 4 simple steps to successfully complete the registration process.

You must have an email address from a provider that is approved for use with the Spine e.g.,, or

It is highly advisable to add the link provided to your Favourite or Shortcut so that you are able to access the unlock service at any time after registration:

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

Your Smartcard will become blocked after 3 consecutive failed login attempts. If you have not registered for Self Service Unlock, you will need to meet with your local PIN resetter and reset your PIN; this can only be completed in a face to face meeting.

Can I change my own passcode?

Yes, you can change your own passcode. Log in to the NHS Spine Portal, Launch CIS and go to your profile, click Service under Smartcard details and click change passcode. Enter a new passcode between 4 and 8 characters and or numbers.

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.


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 2 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 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.

Glossary of terms

Glossary of terms
Term Definition
CIS Care Identity Service
CP-IS Child Protection – Information Sharing
CRS NHS Care Record Service
e-Gif eGovernment Interoperability Framework, is a scheme for ensuring the inter-operation of computer-based systems.
EPS Electronic Prescription Service
eRS NHS e-Referral Service
ESR Electronic Staff Record
HSCIC Health & Social Care Information Centre
IG Information Governance
LSA Local Smartcard Administrator
ODS Organisation Data Service
PDS Personal Demographics Service
Portal NHS Spine Portal
RA Registration Authority
RiO Health & Social Care RiO Child Health and Child Health Records
SCR Summary Care Records
Spine National Health Service Spine
SystmOne Centrally hosted Primary Care health system
UUID Unique User Identity

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