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Pharmacists urged to register for 'improved' NHSmail

NHSmail has been improved to make it easier for pharmacists to register to use it, HSCIC says

The NHS is urging pharmacists in England to sign up for its improved secure email service

The NHS has urged pharmacists in England to sign up to its secure email service following an upgrade on Friday (25 July).


NHSmail, provided by the NHS Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and run by Vodafone, had been improved to make it easier for pharmacists, optometrists and dentists to register for it, HSCIC said.


Pharmacists would now have "full control" over their accounts and could use the service without having to access N3, the secure broadband network used by the NHS. They would also be able to change their password without using an N3 connection, HSCIC said.


The roll out of NHSmail to a wider range of healthcare professionals was part of HSCIC's commitment to improve the secure transfer of patient information across the health service, it said. As the health service began to use more non-NHS organisations to deliver care, commissioners were making a secure way of sharing information a requirement for providers, HSCIC added.


NHSmail is already used by more than 600,000 health and social care staff in England and Scotland as a replacement for paper-based processes and to speed up patient care. HSCIC was aware of more than 800 pharmacists, optometrists and dentists who had independently signed up to the service, although it said "many more" had registered through their NHS trust or CCG.


To register for an NHSmail account, pharmacists need to fill out an online form and email it to their regional NHSmail contact, who can be found on the HSCIC website. Pharmacists who work for a national chain will still need to apply for an account individually.



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12 Comments

[email protected], Community pharmacist

In case anyone is still trying to get thunderbird and NHSmail to work, it is possibe.

1) Email HSCIC to ask them how.
2) Wait 3 weeks to a month and you'll be emailed with a method.

AL PATEL, Community pharmacist

NHS.net is having BIG authentication problems....meaning ALL users (including those at CCG) may need their passwords reset every day! Pharmacies come under 'Commissioning Hub' meaning the National Helpdesk will not be able to assist. Pharmacists need to contact a particular dept....lots of being put on hold and time wasting.

Although not quite up to standard, NHS.net SHOULD be the way we need to go.

Other problems faced:
-Every Pharmacy needs an NHS.net email address, so if the Pharmacy Contractors is away, email are still read by locums etc etc...This is not the case as apparently there are not enough email addresses to go round!

-NHS.net only works correctly on Internet Explorer, which very few people use. Faster browsers like Chrome/Firefox do not display correctly.
With Vodafone now taking the contract to run NHS.net I'm sure we'll move forward

-Passwords needs continuous resetting, using various characters and symbols.
CCG's - Some depts send email via NHS.net others send to personal email addresses. There is no standardisation. BUT they continue to complain their emails aren't being read....
-The Main problem encountered by CCG's are Pharmacists not reading email (due to the cumbersome problems detailed below). In Lambeth, Southward & Lewisham (LSL), this is followed up by an email to the LPC Office, who resend the email using personal (non-NHS.net) email addresses to get a higher read response!
We have mentioned this to the local CCG who simply refuse! and have replied that future services will ONLY be given to those who use NHS.net email.
I do agree that NHS.net is good for sending patient identifiable data, but none such has been sent by our local CCG.....
If they want their emails read...then I think they need to be a little bit more forward thinking...

John Urwin, Community pharmacist

I do not understand why we are encouraged to get personal NHS.net addresses. It makes far more sense to have role based addresses in both pharmacy and surgery.
Many GP practices are not using nhs net (mainly due to the password problems). As a result we are sending e-mail from our secure pharmacy NHSmail address to the less secure .nhs.uk address the doctors are using.

[email protected], Community pharmacist

Have they got around to making it possible to use Mozilla Thunderbird to access these email accounts ?

Outlook is expensive, slow and very cumbersome. Accessing via the web is possible but it becomes annoying when you have three or more emails to check regularly.

Sarah Moorhead, Non healthcare professional

It is possible to use Mozilla Thunderbird, it might not be as rich an experience, but yes it will work.

[email protected], Community pharmacist

Thanks Sarah,
Do you have a guide on how to set it up? I am currently unable to set it up with both my own NHSmail and the pharmacy's NHSmail. I get nothing but timeouts.

I have called HSCIC and they do not support anything other than Outlook. This problem with mail clients other than Outlook has been going on for a number of years and has been the chief reason we have never used NHSmail.

If you could post a link to a guide, I'd most appreciate it. Thanks.

Sachin Badiani, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Esquilla or something like that - I have used it for Thunderbird and NHSMail - it allows Exchange mailboxes via Thunderbird.

I think you have to pay for it after the 30 day trial - so I switched over to Outlook 2013.

It would be great to get normal IMAP access to the Exchange mailbox...

Sachin Badiani, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

That plugin and then having to use outlook allows me to check multiple mailboxes...

[email protected], Community pharmacist

@Sarah
We can't/ don't use Outlook as on an old pc, it is a nightmare. I have no interest in a rich experience. I just want it to work.

@Sachin
Was it ExQuilla?
I saw that during my previous searches on this topic. $10 per year for ExQuilla or Outlook at £90. Being charged to access an email we are forced to use galls me.

Sorry for being cheap but unless HSCIC start to allow open access to other Mail Clients then it shall remain an email address that will be checked infrequently at best.

I check my own NHSmail address annually, but I'll make sure to access the pharmacy's a bit more frequently. Can't say better than that. Sorry.

If the NHS really would like us to use M$ to access these emails, then why did they stop their HUP? We could have used these licences to access via the pharmacy.

Sachin Badiani, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

ExQuilla is the one I had as an addon in Thunderbird.

Keep this C+D news post bookmarked... I will find out more information on other solutions or ways - I will also make a post on the pharmacy forum (google search for it if not familiar or not a member) in the next week.

[email protected], Community pharmacist

I take it that this isn't possible then ?

[email protected], Community pharmacist

Thanks Sachin.

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