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The future of NHSmail is confirmed

The NHSmail service has had its future affirmed by the NHS Commissioning Board.

The NHS Commissioning Board has confirmed, at a meeting of its executive team chaired by Sir David Nicholson, that it supports the continuation of NHSmail.

In light of this support, we are working hard to ensure the continuity of the service. Additionally, work is underway to investigate options for a replacement service.

NHSmail is more popular than ever with over half a million active users and up to 300,000 logged on at any one time. Demand from new users to join the service remains very high and we can confirm the platform will have sufficient capacity to support this demand. However, we will be asking organisations to demonstrate that there is a clear business need for email accounts supported by plans for realising the financial benefits (i.e. decommissioning their existing email service and using NHSmail instead).

We will also be focussing on ensuring that non-NHS organisations have a sound business justification for using the service and that the numbers of accounts provided are subject to need. This will enable the service to maintain existing service levels and form part of the overall capacity management strategy to extend the service into 2014.

We will continue to prioritise the key benefit of secure communication and the core email service will remain free to use.  Decisions have not yet been finalised about SMS (text) and other additional services. We will only introduce any charging with a suitable notice period so it can be budgeted in the usual NHS cycle.

We would ask for every organisation’s continued help in good ‘housekeeping’ of accounts: deleting inactive accounts, tracking leaving staff and ensuring there are no duplicate NHSmail accounts. Work to actively manage inactive and deleted accounts by removing them after specified timeframes will continue, so that we maximise the benefit of the existing infrastructure.

Work has already commenced on gathering the requirements for the future service. The core services of secure email, the NHS Directory and shared calendars will continue but we will require your help to consider our future secure communication requirements. Please share your views, or volunteer to help by sending us an email.

As further details in relation to the future of the NHSmail service become available we will keep you informed.  However, if you have any specific queries please email the NHSmail team.