NHS.net is a Microsoft Outlook email, diary and directory system for National Health Service (NHS) employees in England and Scotland. SMS messages can be sent from an email client or web interface. The system is not for patients of the NHS. Retired NHS staff do not have access.
NHS.net e-mail initially offered 64Mb of storage. In 2006 it was improved and storage space was unlimited. Storage space has since been reduced to 400MB or 1GB depending on account service level. In 2013 the storage was doubled for all users in response to feedback from them.
The NHSmail system uses a customised version of Microsoft Exchange (2007).
A zip file containing Microsoft Outlook 2002 manual setup details can be downloaded from Tools->Outlook setup
Mobile devices which support Exchange email and calendar may be configured to use NHSmail email and calendar functions, either with native capability or by installing third party software. Whilst no mobile phones are officially supported by NHSmail the following devices are able to connect:
- iPhone: iPhone 3GS and newer and all models of iPad. 2G and 3G models are blocked as they do not support encryption.
- Nokia devices: All Nokia devices with an Exchange client are able to connect, however most models do not support encryption and therefore their use breaches NHSmail security policies. Models that support encryption include: E52 E55 E63 E66 E71 E72 E75 E5 E7. Note: encryption at rest on these handsets has to be manually switched on.
- Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5 devices: Windows Phone 7 does not support encryption and so should not be used.
- BlackBerry: connecting a BlackBerry device to NHSmail needs added software. Two options exist: AstraSync http://www.astrasync.com/NHSMail-Blackberry-ActiveSync.aspx and NotifySync
- Android: It is also possible to access NHSmail from Android mobile devices. Encryption is only natively supported from version 3 (Honeycomb) onwards. Phones running earlier versions of Android need to install Touchdown software to enable encryption. To find out how to access NHS mail from an android device do the following; 1) log into web based version of nhs.net, 2) Click on the tools button (spanner and screwdriver), 3) click on "guidance" (bottom left), 4) Click on "training and guidance" - left hand column, 5) Click on "Mobile devices" then "Mobile access", 6) Scroll down to "NHSmail mobile configuration guide_Android devices.pdf (592 Kb)"
Standards-compliant connectivity over the internet was previously provided via the IMAP server imapmail1.nhs.net and the SMTP server smtp1.nhs.net. Standards-compliant internet access was removed in September 2009, breaking linux accessibility from the internet. A Windows-only tunnelling application can restore internet access to IMAP. This application is Whale Communications (A Microsoft Subsidiary) Intelligent Application Gateway and is publicly accessible at https://client.nhs.net. The application is not available for 64-bit platforms.
|Before September 2009||After September 2009|
|imap server||imapmail1.nhs.net||imap.nhs.net port 993|
|smtp server||smtp1.nhs.net||send.nhs.net port 587|
|Accessible on linux||Yes||No|
|Windows-only tunnelling application required||No||Yes|
Security and insecurity
The service can be used to securely email a range of other Government email services such as the Home Office, secure local government services, Police, MoD etc. Access to e-mail accounts can be provided voluntarily through a delegate option in Microsoft Outlook. Access may also be granted after local sign off from an HR director or CEO and the Programme Head for NHSmail.
Mail sent through NHS.net may have a 15-line tag line appended to the end of the message.
In 2013 the owning organisation (then NHS Connecting for Health) announced that they were looking to replace the existing NHSmail service as the contract was due to come to an end. In January 2014 the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) confirmed that a business case for replacing the service had been approved by The Department of Health and Treasury. The current service will run until the new one is procured, with transition due to take place during 2015.
- Computers in Psychiatry Extra - Chapter 11, Electronic Mail. The Royal College of Psychiatrists. 2012-06-01. URL:http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/publications/books/rcpp/1904671217/extra1904671217/cipch11-electronicmail.aspx. Accessed: 2012-06-01. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/686WkgcMH)
- Katie Fletcher. Contact---More than just another e-mail address? BMJ Careers 1 Jul 2006
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- "Mobile access to NHSmail Guidance for accessing your NHSmail account from your mobile device" Last Updated: 30 November 2009 nhs.net online documentation (not publicly accessible) retrieved 7 December 2009
- NHS-GP. Configuring Thunderbird for NHS net. 2012-06-01. URL:http://linuxgp.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/configuring-nhs-net-for-thunderbird.html. Accessed: 2012-06-01. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/686XEanKP)
- Grant Forrest. When Microsoft Broke NHS Mail. URL:http://www.grantforrest.me.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61:microsoftnhsmail&catid=45:articles&Itemid=57. Accessed: 2012-06-01. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/686X7HAvM)
- Peter von Kaehne. Freedom of Information request. URL:https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=gp-uk;690d9b35.0903 (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6JGHfyd3C)
- Connecting for Health NHSMail Mythbuster URL:http://www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/systemsandservices/nhsmail/summyth. Accessed: 2013-08-31. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6JHjzn03c)