NHS Digital News

01 Feb 2021

Major step forward in creating a truly digital NHS through world’s largest email migration to the cloud

NHS Digital has successfully completed the world’s largest ever enterprise email migration after moving 2.1m NHSmail mailboxes over to Microsoft’s Exchange Online platform.

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.

Moving to Microsoft’s Exchange Online platform will enable frontline staff to communicate more effectively and support them as they continue to respond to the pandemic - reducing the burden of administration and ultimately improving patient safety.

The work, which began in August 2020, was undertaken in collaboration with Accenture1 and Microsoft2 and completed today with the vast majority of users experiencing no interruption in service.

Around 22,000 NHSmail accounts were moved over to the cloud every evening and 83,000 accounts across each weekend.

The migration aligns the NHSmail system with the Secretary of State Matt Hancock’s vision for a cloud-first NHS.

NHS Digital’s Chief Executive Sarah Wilkinson said: “The migration of NHSmail to Exchange Online 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 a Microsoft Hybrid implementation of Office 365 to the NHSmail platform, which is allowing NHS organisations to provision O365 services much faster, integrate with the existing NHSmail identity, and collaborate more easily. These additional Office365 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 Microsoft email migration, in the middle of the pandemic, when the organisation, and many of our staff, have been under so many other pressures.”

One of the benefits of NHSmail now being cloud based is it will automatically update to the latest version of Microsoft’s Office 365 collaboration suite, so users will always have access to the latest tools and capabilities.

It also enables NHSmail to now provide Office 365 services, building on the deployment of Microsoft Teams, which was first deployed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently used to send almost 1m messages across the NHS every day.

Accenture’s Chief Executive Julie Sweet said: “We are incredibly proud to help the NHS and its essential front-line workers use the very best digital tools available to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

“Completing this migration at unparalleled speed and scale to equip NHS staff with a new cloud-based platform that enhances their productivity and the delivery of critical services to patients is a testament to how today’s urgent challenges can be met with the powerful combination of technology and human ingenuity.”

Microsoft UK’s Chief Executive Clare Barclay said: “Whilst the NHS has had to function under incredibly challenging circumstances this past year, Microsoft has been proud to support its vital work in any way we can.

“The rapid rollout of Microsoft 365 has ensured that clinicians and support staff across England have access to the very latest productivity tools, enabling a truly joined up approach in the fight against COVID-19 and the effective delivery of essential care services.”

Contact Information

NHS England Media Team
0300 303 3888

Notes to editors

  1. Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. With 514,000 employees across more than 120 countries, they offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services — all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. For more information, visit accenture.com
  2. Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

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