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Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

Part of NHS architecture principles

All digital services need to be delivered sustainably

All services need to be delivered sustainably.

Current Chapter

Current chapter – All digital services need to be delivered sustainably


All services need to be delivered sustainably.


Digital services need to be ‘resilient’. That is - robust and able to withstand and respond to changes arising out of the environmental emergency. 

The impact of digital services on 'embodied emissions' or ecological and social impact from mining and manufacture (that is, the environmental cost of producing and disposing of IT equipment) should be considered. 

Design principles

Minimise data retention and resolution

Code efficiently

Limit architectural obsolescence

Provide access that minimises end user device numbers

in favour of promoting access to our services via low energy devices, such as tablet and mobile.

Carefully consider the benefits of utilising artificial intelligence or machine learning

to ensure benefit outweighs energy requirements


Architects should consider the impact of climate change in their work from three perspectives, in addition to the other principles.

Direct impacts
  • Set non-functional requirements that meet your optimum specification while balancing commercial impact

  • Design services that make best use of resources to reduce cost and carbon emissions

Impact on suppliers
  • Select suppliers considering their carbon footprint 

  • Work with the supply chain to reduce impact 

Impact on customers
  • Promote the move to environmentally sustainable cloud services 

  • Promote digital by default as a principle, reducing CO2 in health and care business processes 

  • Minimise the impacts for the health and care system, such as client devices and two-factor authentication

Last edited: 26 September 2022 5:13 pm