NHS Digital has successfully moved 2.1 million NHSmail mailboxes to a new online platform, completing the largest ever enterprise email migration in the world, as the NHS pushes forward with its ambitions of creating a truly digital health service.
The large-scale migration marks an important step towards creating a joined-up NHS and equipping frontline services with the latest digital tools and services available.
Frontline staff will be able to more effectively communicate via email as a result of the migration, helping reduce administrative burdens and ensure time is better spent responding to the pandemic, in turn improving patient safety and the care delivered.
Work on the email shift began in August 2020 and was undertaken in collaboration with expertise from commercial partners.
It was delivered with minimal disruption, with the vast majority of users experiencing no interruption to service.
Between August 2020 and February 2021, around 22,000 NHSmail accounts were moved over to the cloud every evening. Each weekend, a further 83,000 accounts were moved across.
Aligning with Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s visions for a cloud-first NHS, the NHSmail system migration will also allow users to have immediate access to many of the latest day-to-day administrative tools they need for their roles - with a system now capable of automatically updating itself too.
NHS Digital’s Chief Executive Sarah Wilkinson said: “The migration of NHSmail has enabled us to provide staff across the NHS with a mail system which is functionally richer, more secure and lower cost.
“We have also deployed an implementation of Office 365 to the NHSmail platform, which is allowing NHS organisations to provision these services much faster, integrate with the existing NHSmail identity, and collaborate more easily. These additional services build on the deployment of Microsoft Teams, which we rolled-out at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and is currently used to send almost 1m messages across the NHS every day.
“I’m very proud of the Collaboration Services Team at NHS Digital for delivering the world’s largest ever email migration, in the middle of the pandemic, when the organisation, and many of our staff, have been under so many other pressures.”