Smartcard Registration Authorities (RAs)

Published on: 16th July 2015 | Updated on: 15th March 2022

Local NHS England and NHS Improvement teams are responsible for commissioning local ‘Registration Authorities’ (RAs) to provide and oversee Smartcard issues. With EPS these cards have become business critical.

Contacting your RA

Contact RA

Pharmacy teams can use this resource:

List of RA contact details

Dealing with incorrect RA contact information

Where information listed in the RA contact list is missing or incorrect you may obtain RA contact information:

The NHS Digital national Smartcard team can be asked to update the RA contact list (


RA standards and processes

RA operating standards guidance (pdf) was published by NHS Digital to assist local NHS England teams and LPCs to ensure that RAs are meeting appropriate standards.

The RA processes are also laid out in detail within the RA process and policy guidance document.

The RA leaflets and processes are also laid out in detail within the NHS Digital RA web pages.

Given the business and patient safety critical nature of Smartcards, need to be in reasonable proximity to the pharmacies that it supports and have opening hours that properly reflect the realities of pharmacy practice.

Escalating Smartcard/RA issues

Pharmacy contractors that are unsatisfied with the local RA Smartcard service, in the first instance can email the RA and cc the Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), and further escalate to the LPC. Where needed LPCs work with local RAs to understand how outstanding issues can be resolved. Where LPCs cannot resolve Smartcard issues through their work with their RA, LPCs may escalate the issue by emailing Community Pharmacy England’s Community Pharmacy IT Lead who may further escalate to NHS Digital central Smartcard team where needed. Further information can be found in the briefing on the subject.

Non-NHS RAs pilot

At present, the RA may be a Commissioning Support Unit (CSU), a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Trust (if providing support for primary Care), or another provider organisation.

Previously for a set period of time NHS Digital had invited non-NHS organisations to apply to become pilot host Registration Authorities (RAs). Amongst the requirements for becoming a pilot RA, the organisation had to have access to the NHS network (N3/HSCN) already in place. Pharmacy companies, pharmacy system suppliers or pharmacy organisations were able to ask to become pilot non-NHS RAs during this time. The pilot is ongoing but further applications cannot currently being accepted. If the status of the project were to move beyond this pilot stage, guidance would need to further explain the criteria in respect of governance, operation and external monitoring and audit required by a RA and how the NHS Digital would be selecting pilot RAs. For further information please email

Further info and queries



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Return to the IT webpage: Smartcard roles and updating them

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