OS data and services support NHS Digital in distribution of millions of Covid-19 home testing
Not long after the coronavirus pandemic began, NHS Digital contacted OS for support in their delivery of Covid-19 home testing kits as part of the government’s national testing strategy.
With a national demand for testing kits, NHS Digital required trusted and accurate addressing data to support their operations. Using the OS Places API, NHS Digital has been able to efficiently capture the addresses of people requesting kits via the Gov.uk website.
Through the membership of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) sponsored by the Geospatial Commission, NHS Digital were able to have free at the point of use access to the OS Places API feature ‘Capture and Verification’, which they were quickly able to integrate with their current online ordering systems. This meant that when someone with potential Covid-19 symptoms needed to order a home testing kit, our addressing data enabled them to enter a postcode and easily select their address from a drop-down list.
This function ensures only ‘clean’ and up-to-date addresses are captured, allowing for efficient delivery of tests to anywhere in Great Britain, especially during periods of high demands. As well as reassuring NHS Digital that kits are being delivered correctly, introducing this API has crucially sped up the online user journey and removed the need for manual address entries which can result in less successful deliveries.
The addressing data is also shared with delivery operators relied upon to deliver these test kits.
NHS Digital is currently the biggest user of the OS Places API and, at its peak, this API was being used to capture and verify over one million addresses each day. Of these, over half of the requests were made via NHS Digital's Covid-19 Home Testing channel that enables members of the public to order lateral flow tests online.
Following the schools reopening in early March and with the wider access of Covid-19 testing to all adults in England OS Places continued to support the increase in demand and distribution for free rapid lateral flow tests across the nation.
OS Places API
OS Places provides a simple way to access the current and accurate addresses in AddressBase Premium for GB without overhead of manging addressing data.
OS Places API is a trusted service used by government and businesses to transact with citizens and register for services. The Capture and Verification and Geosearch functions are now free to use - find out more.