Approved Centres and access for eligible non-NHS staff

In order to access testing for NHS ELITE and NHS Health all Candidates must contact their nearest Approved Centre in the first instance. The Approved Centre will then be responsible for advising Candidates of the best method available to access the learning materials for NHS ELITE and NHS Health.

Find the latest list of Approved Centres (Excel, 224Kb).

NHS Approved Centre

Approved Centres can provide testing facilities for all NHS and eligible non-NHS candidates. All Approved Centres are accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS) and are audited regularly to ensure that they maintain very high standards.

Contact to get more information about setting up as an Approved Centre, or view the downloadable spreadsheet above that lists all of our current Approved Centres.

Non-NHS Centres using NHS Materials

NHS organisations can use external providers (e.g. Further Education colleges or private training companies) to carry out their learning using the NHS materials. They may also set up as Approved Centres if required, for more information please contact

Access for Non-NHS Candidates

NHS ELITE and NHS Health are targeted at NHS staff, particularly those that are expected to use National Programme for IT systems and services, either currently or at some point in the future. NHS Connecting for Health (NHS CFH) does however recognise that in some instances non-NHS staff will be expected to work with National Programme for IT (NPfIT) systems and services.

Who is eligible?

Below is a list of groups of non-NHS candidates that may be eligible for the Essential IT Skills (EITS) Programme:

  • NHS based Pharmacists
  • Non-NHS based Pharmacists
  • NHS Dentists
  • Social Care workers
  • GP Surgeries
  • Ambulance Services
  • Colleges/Universities offering clinical or clinical management focused courses

If you are unsure as to whether your candidates are eligible for the EITS Programme or not, please contact us on

What will be funded?

It is obviously critical that potential candidates who fit into these groups have access to the EITS Programme so that they have the required essential IT skills prior to being asked to use NPfIT clinical systems. As a result NHS CFH is committed to funding candidates within these groups through the programme as we would fund any eligible NHS candidate. For these groups NHS CFH will centrally fund:

  • Accessing to elearning materials
  • Mock tests
  • Tests
  • Qualification accreditation
  • Provision of certificates
  • Marketing and communications materials

Accessing EITS training for eligible non-NHS staff

elearning materials

All non-NHS candidates who fit the eligibility criteria can access the NHS ELITE and NHS Health elearning materials without being required to register with either the British Computer Society (BCS) or NHS CFH. The elearning materials can be ordered from this website at our order the elearning materials page.


All non-NHS candidates who wish to take the tests will however need to take their NHS ELITE and NHS Health examinations with a BCS NHS Approved Centre (see link at the top of the page for a list of Approved Centres), it will be the responsibility of the non-NHS organisation training manager representing these candidates (or the individual concerned) to approach an Approved Centre(s) in order to arrange for testing to take place. It should be noted that there are costs that Approved Centres have to absorb in order to deliver Essential IT Skills testing that are not centrally funded by NHS Connecting for Health, such as the provision of testing facilities, equipment and Approved Centre staffing. As a result each Approved Centre may require organisations requesting testing of non-NHS candidates to contribute towards these costs on a not for profit basis, NHS CFH will not manage this process centrally, the Approved Centre and the non-NHS organisation should agree the extent of these costs before any testing commences.

All Approved Centres have been advised that that they may be approached by non-NHS organisations for testing of eligible non-NHS candidates.

Advice for Approved Centres

All Approved Centres will be responsible for responding to approaches from non-NHS organisations, agreeing reimbursements for costs (which will be strictly on a not for profit basis) and assessing each candidates eligibility for access to funded EITS training. Approved Centres are not mandated to process non-NHS candidates, however NHS CFH does recognise that there is an obligation for certain groups of non-NHS staff who will be using NPfIT systems and services to have access to funded EITS testing and would therefore request as much assistance as possible in the delivery of this from our network of Approved Centres.

In regards to eligibility, each Approved Centre will need to be satisfied that the non-NHS staff that they are processing are eligible for the EITS Programme, with the key question being whether the candidate will be expected to use NPfIT systems and services in their job role, either currently or in the future.

NHS CFH recognises that this assessment will in many cases be subjective, as such we request that all Approved Centres make this judgement on a best endeavours basis. NHS CFH will monitor numbers of non-NHS staff being processed by each Approved Centre, however this process will not form part of the BCS Approved Centre audit that all Approved Centres will need to complete at least once throughout the duration of the EITS Programme.