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gary
01-11-2006, 01:44 PM
I have started to implement the policy of restricting membership to only those people who own nhs email addresses. I have included the following into the "Forum Rules" that potential members have to agree to when they register. An excerpt is given here:
"Registration is only available to owners of NHS email addresses, (that is email addresses that end in nhs.net or nhs.uk ,so for instance yourname@pct.scot.nhs.uk is quite acceptable), or who can be recommended by someone who is already a member. If you do not have an NHS email address then you can register and authenticate your email address by responding to the email sent back to you in reply, but you will have to ask a member to contact the administrator to confirm who you are before I can moderate your application and assign you full membership rights. Up to that point you will not be able to see any content on the site other than thread and post's titles."

I have toyed with the idea of allowing users with a doctors.org.uk email address from the doctors.net.uk site to act as an authenticator. They use the GMC number, which is actually freely available for anyone to view ( for any doctor) on the GMC website. I have spoken to them and it appears that the only authentication they use is the GMC number, together with a bit of perusal of the name and address data to see if it all looks ok. :rolleyes:

From now on I will not be accepting the doctors.org.uk email address as authentication.

That being all said I must emphasise that nhs email addresses are only being used as authentication in the registration process. Once registered as a full member then anyone can change their email address to whatever they like ( I don't want to be restrictive and authoritarian on the issue as to what email members prefer to use on a day to day basis;) )

The other issue that I have to mention, and which has caused some confusion is the matter of IP addresses. When you use the nhsnet to access the site from your practice, you are using an nhs IP address - such as 62.6.139.13 . I have not restricted the website to the nhs IP addresses, so users can still access the site from home ( when they use another IP address from their ISP).

I will be asking all current members who have not authenticated with an NHS email address to do so soon ( there are about 30 or so).

I hope this all makes sense.

Gary