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Smart Cards

Smart Cards FAQs– West Yorkshire Pharmacies

NHS England is responsible for commissioning Registration Authorities to manage smartcard issues. In West Yorkshire we have two Registration Authorities, eMBED are responsible for the Leeds and Bradford areas and The Health Informatics Service (THIS) are responsible for Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. Sponsoring is now done online within local pharmacies using a system called Care Identity Service (CIS). The process is outlined below.

Smartcard Process 


See guidance leaflet below for information regarding sponsors adding access codes to new Smart Cards.

Sponsor Assign Access - Leaflet


Registration Authority Processes - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

1. We have no Sponsor in our Pharmacy - what should we do?

Being a Sponsor is pharmacy specific so needs to be set up per pharmacy. The pharmacy should identify a Sponsor for their own pharmacy. This does not need to be a pharmacist but should be a senior/responsible person within the pharmacy. It’s recommended that there should be at least two sponsors per pharmacy; however, this is not always possible due to the amount of staff the pharmacy employs. 

Independent’s Pharmacy Superintendent/owner should request that a Sponsor is set up by emailing the NHS England Lead Sponsors. The pharmacy Sponsor should complete an application form and send this completed (Sponsor Authorisation Form) to a West Yorkshire Area Team Lead Sponsor at the address below. This may be scanned and emailed. 

Multiples should ask their area manager to contact the Lead Sponsors. The area manager may nominate or be set up as a regional Sponsor on request. West Yorkshire Area Team Lead Sponsors are: 

Timm Hield - timm.hield@nhs.net- 0113 825 3226 (contact first)

West Yorkshire Area Team

3 Leeds City Office Park

Meadow Lane


LS11 5BD


The West Yorkshire Area Team Lead Sponsor grants the Sponsor position to the nominated person and this is enabled on their smartcard remotely.


2. I have a member of staff who requires a smartcard and has never been registered for one

The process is slightly different depending on which Registration Authority you come under:

Pharmacies in Airedale, Bradford and Leeds - 0300 3000 620 - eMBED.Smartcards@nhs.net 


Pharmacies in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield - 0845 127 2600

In this case the ID checker is: The Health Informatics Service Registration Authority, who are predominantly based in Brighouse, but on occasion, work in Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield.  The Sponsor initiates the “create new user” process in CIS as above but only enters a skeleton level of information. A call should then be logged with the Service Desk on 0845 127 2600 and the Registration Authority will make contact with the user to arrange an appointment to have their ID checked, a PIN set up and the smartcard  issued.


3. I have a member of staff who already holds a smartcard but it doesn’t work in my pharmacy

Access is pharmacy specific so the Sponsor should use CIS to add a profile to the user’s smartcard. This can be done remotely without the smartcard or user present. Just the smartcard number is required.  


4. We have a locum who wishes to be Sponsored at our branch

The process is the same as staff members (see above). Access can be given for a specified duration if required.


5. We have/I am a locum who wants Sponsoring not to our organisation but to the National Locum Code

The Locum should to make contact with an NHS England Area Team Lead Sponsor (contact details above) who will determine whether or not to Sponsor the locum to the code. If deemed appropriate the Area Team Lead Sponsor will authorise this using CIS; once actioned, the user will see the new organisation assigned to them at the next smartcard authentication stage.

Relief pharmacists for multiples should be given access individually for each pharmacy. Regional Sponsors for multiples can be set up on request to the Lead Sponsors. The Regional Manager needs to have a smartcard for this.


6. Staff member is leaving our organisation and has a smartcard

Sponsor should remove their pharmacy access using CIS. The user should take their smartcard with them unless they are not going to be working in future NHS employment. In this case the smartcard should be retained by the Sponsor and they should then contact the Registration Authority to discuss disposing of the smartcard confidentially.


7. What if the person who is leaving is a sponsor/ID checker?

It’s important that each pharmacy plan for this in advance. Multiple sponsors/ID checkers may be set up. A replacement sponsor should be set up with the Lead Sponsors as above and a request made to remove the leaving sponsor’s sponsorship rights. 


8. My smartcard has been lost/damaged what should I do?

Airedale, Bradford and Leeds – 0300 300 0620, email eMBED.Smartcards@nhs.net

You should inform your sponsor and ask for a replacement card to be issued. The sponsor should arrange this with the Embed smartcards team. 

Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield - 0845 127 2600

You should inform the Registration Authority as soon as is practical; the Registration Authority will cancel your smartcard and a replacement card will be issued.


9. A smartcard is locked how can I unlock it? I’ve entered my PIN incorrectly several times and it’s now locked?

The user should contact their Sponsor and the sponsor should follow the “unlocking a smartcard guidelines” http://systems.digital.nhs.uk/rasmartcards/cis/guidance/cardmanage.pdf
The smartcard will be unlocked in a face to face meeting, two smartcard readers are required. These may be requested from the relevant Registration Authority. Sponsors may unlock cards even from outside their organisation.


10. My smartcard’s security certificates have expired on my smartcard what should I do?

Smartcard’s security certificates must be renewed every 2 years. At each log-in, ninety days prior to your certificates expiring, you will be prompted to renew your certificates. If you have not used your smartcard for a while or have ignored these prompts then the certificates will expire and you will not be able to use your smartcard.  You will need to make an appointment with your Registration Authority or an ID checker, who will renew your certificates.



11. My name or other personal details has changed what should I do?

This depends on what has changed but the user should contact the relevant Registration Authority

Airedale, Bradford and Leeds – 0300 300 0620, email eMBED.Smartcards@nhs.net

Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield - 0845 127 2600


12. Smartcards whose serial numbers start with 01, 02 or 03

Pharmacies in Leeds or Bradford
These cards need to be replaced and you should contact your sponsor who will request a replacement.

Pharmacies in Calderdale, Kirklees & Wakefield
These cards needs to be replaced and you should contact the Registration Authority on 0845 127 2600 to do this. 

13. CIS doesn’t work with Google Chrome 

Google removed something from their browser that allowed CIS to work. NHS Digital has released an extension which you can download which will enable Chrome to work again with CIS. There is guidance on how to do this on NHS Digital’s website.



Information updated October 2016.