Sharing Smartcard access could result in instant dismissal

The PDA would like to draw your attention to a recent Employment Tribunal where a practice manager had been immediately dismissed for allowing a pharmacist to use their smartcard to perform a bulk prescription process on the surgery IT system.

Sun 20th January 2019 The PDA

Unfortunately, the process was incorrectly set up and the actions of the pharmacist subsequently led to 400 repeat prescriptions being deleted thereby endangering patient care at the surgery.

The employment tribunal dismissed an appeal from the practice manager for unfair dismissal emphasising that the smartcard holder is responsible and accountable for any consequences and actions undertaken using their smartcard access. It found that by sharing smartcard access, the conduct of the practice manager was in breach of contract and sufficiently serious to warrant instant dismissal.

The judgement stated that a smartcard “is ‘personal’ to the user like a debit or credit card and must be kept secure because of the confidential nature of the data on the system that the card allows you access to. Usage will always be audited back to the card user.”

We remind all members who use smartcards of the NHS national terms and conditions1, which stipulate that:

  • Smartcards should not be shared
  • Smartcards should not be left unattended
  • Users should not disclose their passcode to others

If your smartcard is used by someone else, you are accountable for the consequences.

It is important that you do not allow others to access NHS systems using your personal smartcard. This applies to all pharmacy settings including community, hospital, and primary care.


The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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