IT Information

COVID-19 IT Updates as at 11th September 2020

Message from NEL GP IT Team Re: Non-CCG funded Windows 7 Devices

Dear GP Practice ,

You may be aware that Microsoft will be withdrawing support for Windows 7 devices in January 2021.

As a result of the Microsoft decision, we regret that NEL will be unable to support any device running Windows 7 beyond 14th January 2021.  Any devices running Windows 7 will no longer be authorised for use on NHS networks from 14th January next year.

NEL, on behalf of the CCG, have replaced most CCG-funded Windows 7 equipment already, with a small number still to be upgraded or replaced.  Practices with devices not funded by the CCG are strongly advised to act now to replace this equipment as demand with suppliers is likely to be high.   Examples of devices the CCG will not fund include self-arrivals screens, patient call screens, telephony PCs and dispensary PCs.

Practices are advised to have devices replaced or upgraded by the end of November 2020.  If you would like NEL to provide a quote for replacement PCs or self-arrivals screens, please contact the Service Desk.  Please note NEL cannot provide quotes for patient call screens such as Jayex Boards.  NEL are also unable to upgrade any Windows 7 self-arrivals screens.

If you are unsure if a device is running Windows 7 you may need to contact the third party you purchased it from.  If the device was supplied by the CGG/NEL please contact our Service Desk for further assistance. 

Our Service Desk can be contacted on 01604 978089, via the online portal or via email to

Roll out of Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) Phase 4

To help you prepare for winter, NHS digital are accelerating deployment of EPS Phase 4 which allows EPS to be used for patients without a pharmacy nomination. 

Phase 4 significantly reduces the need to hand sign prescriptions and manage lost prescriptions. GP practices and pharmacies will also be able to track the status of all prescriptions using the EPS Prescription Tracker

Please note:  TPP SystmOne and EMIS plan to automatically enable EPS Phase 4 for practices currently using EPS from the 7th September 2020 (this will be a phased approach)

All GP practices using EPS with TPP SystmOne and EMIS Web will be live with Phase 4 by mid-September 2020.

To ensure a smooth transition, it is recommended that practices enable Phase 4 before this date. The NEL GP IT team are able to offer remote support before the automatic enablement. 

Further information about EPS Phase 4 is available  here.  If you require additional EPS Phase 4 information/support please contact us via mail: outlining how we might be able to help and provide your contact details.  

Using EPS with a nomination is still the preferred and most efficient option, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so please continue to encourage your patients to nominate.

VPN Access

When a VPN is requested to enable remote working, users are sent two emails from the service desk.  The first email contains a username and password, the second is a provisioning email enabling you to download an App to your phone, this needs to be actioned within 7 days.   

  • A newly created account that is not logged into for 30 days will automatically be disabled
  • An account that has been logged into will become disabled after 90 days of inactivity

If you fail to activate the account or the account is not logged into within the time frame above the account becomes inactive and you will be unable to log in.  It can take up to seven days for an account to be reactivated, this would mean that a new provisioning email would be sent to you and you would have to uninstall the App previously installed and reinstall from the new email. 

If you need your account reactivated you will need to contact the service desk via email or by phone 01604 978089.

Message from NEL RE: PPE

Dear Colleagues

 In view of the current COVID-19 situation and the need to ensure the safety of your staff, patients and our own staff, we are reviewing our policy on engineer visits and the use of PPE.

 Where an engineer visit has been booked, Practices are required to make available to the engineer, on arrival,  the following PPE:


  1. Single Use Disposable Surgical Mask
  2. Single Use Disposable Gloves
  3. Single Use Disposable apron when working in an area used by Patients
  4. Other PPE as recommended / in use in the practice

On leaving the Practice the engineer should be asked to remove the PPE, outside the building, so that it can be disposed of with the Practices clinical waste. This will greatly reduce the risk of any cross contamination and spreading of virus between the Practices the engineer visits. 

We very much appreciate your cooperation helping us keep your staff, patients and our engineers safe during this period.

Laptop Cyber Security

Please can we ask all Practices to ensure that they switch on the laptops that have recently been distributed to them if they haven’t done so in a little while (or for some of them maybe they have not yet used them at all yet). They need to be regularly powered on to ensure that all relevant security patches and policies are applied to the device so that they will not pose a threat to the network when they are next used.

It is also worth reminding Practices to ask staff not to continually click “postpone” when they are asked to run the latest Windows updates. These need to be run when prompted to ensure compliance on the network.

For any desktops that are in rooms that haven’t been used for a little while please again could Practices make arrangements to regularly switch these devices on.

We are reporting a higher than normal number of unpatched laptops in the county which is likely due to the recent increase in laptop devices so we need to raise this now to help reduce the number.

Control of patient information notices (COPI) extension until March 2021

Please see the following message regarding COPI healthcare notices.


The use of COPI healthcare notices to share data


Control of patient information notices (COPI) have now been extended until the end of March 2021 to help give healthcare organisations and Local Authorities the confidence to share the data needed to respond to Covid-19. 

The notices are issued under regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 which enable confidential patient information to be shared to respond to communicable diseases and other threats to public health.

More information is available on the NHSX website.

Smartcard Self-Service Unlock Process

Due to the difficulty in getting Smartcards unlocked during the current situation it is important that Smartcard holders register for Smartcard Self-Service. This will enable you to unlock your own Smartcard should it become locked without having to visit a Smartcard Administrator.

We ask that you Register for Self-Service Unlock now as this can only be completed while your card is valid & unlocked/working.

Registration only takes a couple of minutes. A full step-by-step guide is attached for your convenience.

You cannot register for Self-Service Unlock once your card is locked, this must be completed with a valid and unlocked Smartcard.

The RA department cannot remotely unlock a locked card, without self-service unlock a replacement may be required and there will be a delay while the card is sent out.

This guidance has only been sent to Smartcard holders with a valid email address on CIS, please feel free to forward on to your colleagues.

If you have any questions please email or call 0300 123 10 20 Option 6.

GP Connect Support

As part of the GP Connect project, NHS Digital have been making contact with practices where it is seen that errors in the set-up of their prioritisation list/slots have meant that CCAS/National NHS 111 are unable to place patients on this utilisation list.

The details below are from these interactions and give the details of issues and the resolutions to them.


  • Organisation Groups
    • Ensure that the correct organisations are in the Organisation Group.
      • If you’ve got one session for both CCAS and NHS 111 then you need yourself, all 111 providers and CCAS.
      • If you’ve got two separate sessions for 111 and CCAS then you’ll need one group with yourself and all 111 providers and one group with yourself and CCAS.
    • Ensure that you are subscribed to the Organisation Group. If you’re not subscribed to it when you search in the filter for the Organisation Group, it won’t be displayed.
  • Sessions
    • Apply a filter to the session – this is really important as this is how you associate a session with an organisation group. (essentially this is where you tell the system who you want to be able to book into the session).
    • When applying a filter, ensure that in the field Kind, you select Reserve. If you have previously selected Limit you will need to delete and recreate the entire session. It does not work when you edit an existing session.
    • When creating the session in the Session Preview screen, ensure that you select the slots you want to be GP Connect bookable, right-click and select Slot Properties. On this screen, select the slot type you’ve created and ensure that the GP Connect radio button is selected.
  • Appointments
    • Ensure your appointments are spread throughout the day. If you only set up appointments in the morning, then as soon as that time has passed there are no visible appointments to 111 or CCAS for the rest of that day. The systems can look at the next day’s appointments but the call handlers will not book into a slot that exceeds the disposition timeframe that the patient has been given.


  • Slot Type
    • When creating a slot type do not embargo it – this means that 111 and/or CCAS will not be able to view the slots.
  • Appointments
    • When you set up your appointments in the Appointment Book there are three key pieces of information you’ll need to make a note of:
      • Staff members name that is assigned to the rota(s).
      • The Rota Type – this is not the Rota Name and one of the key places people get confused. You can check the Rota Type by previewing the Rota Template. There is a field called Type – the Rota Type is whatever text is in that field.
      • The Slot Type.
    • Ensure your appointments are spread throughout the day. If you only set up appointments in the morning, then as soon as that time has passed there are no visible appointments to 111 or CCAS for the rest of that day. The systems can look at the next day’s appointments but the call handlers will not book into a slot that exceeds the disposition timeframe that the patient has been given.
  • Organisation Preferences
    • When you go to the GP Connect Provider screen in the Organisation Preferences section this is where the three pieces of information you made note of, are critical. This screen is where you configure the system to determine exactly which organisation/s you want to book into what rotas and slots and only when associated with a particular member of staff with a GP Connect role.
    • When searching for a 111 organisations in the browser, untick staff members and tick organisations and Trusts, CCGs, Clusters. This will ensure that you bring up the correct organisations.
    • When searching for a 111 organisation, use the ODS codes rather than a text search. As an example, if you are searching for Derbyshire Health United (DHU) rather than searching for “Derbyshire”, search for the ODS code NNJ. This will provide the correct organisation details.
  • Existing Rotas
    • If you have added slots into existing rotas, (i.e. there are multiple slot types in one rota), you will need to associate both the rota type and the slot type with the organisations you want to allow to book in. If you have created a new slot type and rota type and you would not find any other slot types outside that rota type then you can just associate the rota type with the organisations you want to all to book in.
  • GP Connect Staff
    • Select “Only allow consumers to book into rotas assigned with a GP Connect role”.
    • All staff members are automatically populated on the left hand side of the GP Connect staff role section. This does not mean they have a GP Connect role. This is indicated by a role in the right hand side of the screen.
  • TPP Functionality (Remote Booking)
    • Remote booking has nothing to do with GP Connect. Remote Booking is a separate part of the TPP system which allows TPP Sites to book into each other’s appointment rotas.

NHS Digital

Principles of safe video consulting in general practice during COVID-19

Microsoft Teams – Information from NEL CSU

Additional Training resources are also available here

Service Desk

Unless directed above to email our Team mailbox, please log any other IT related issues via the NEL Service Desk.  This can be logged either by phone: 01604 978089; Email to or you can use the Service Desk Self Service Portal to log your query via

The NEL Service Desk operates from 7am – 8pm Monday – Friday.

NHSmail Skype for Business decommissioning

This August, NHSmail is embarking on the next part of our Teams journey with the decommissioning of NHSmail Skype for Business.

All users have access to the Microsoft Teams communication tool to facilitate instant messaging and audio & video calling, as well as online meetings where - since the rollout in March - we have seen a six-fold increase in the average number of weekday remote meetings taking place.

Starting in August and ending on 31 August 2020 all access to Skype for Business will be removed and users will no longer be able to sign into the Skype client or mobile app. Any instant messaging or peer-to-peer voice / video calls will only work in Teams from this point forwards.

What does this mean?

  • Active users of NHSmail Skype for Business need to ensure they are using Microsoft Teams for all instant messaging, calls and online meetings before August.
  • Teams will be the only supported platform for collaboration, messaging and meetings.
  • No new requests for Federation, Top Up or Dial-In for Skype for Business will be accepted in the Portal from this week.
  • The ability to contact federated users (i.e. users with an address not ending with ‘’) will move from Skype for Business and be added to Teams at the end of August.

Top Up Agreements

For organisations with Audio & Video (A&V) Top Up services in place for users, we are pleased to inform you that A&V is available as standard in Microsoft Teams, and any costs associated with these Top Ups will cease from from 31 July.

Dial-In / Audio Conferencing is also now available in Teams - NHS Digital has purchased a number of licenses to provide users this feature, and all active users that are licensed will receive an Audio Conferencing license for Teams.

Is there anything you can do:

If you currently utilise Skype For Business through NHS Mail you should look to transfer all meetings over to MS Teams before August.



Last updated: 11/09/2020