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Internet First

Health and care services now have an Internet First policy that states new digital services should operate over the internet. Existing services should also be updated to do the same at the earliest opportunity and ideally by March 2021. NHS Digital owned services will be updated or replaced to meet the Internet First policy.

Our services add the most value when they are readily available to the citizens, staff, services and third parties who use them to deliver high quality healthcare.

It requires careful consideration to make services available over the internet. The internet differs from private networks in terms of availability, performance and integrity.

The Internet First policy is aimed at owners of digital services in health and care. The industry standards and guidance provide information to help organisations to make their digital services accessible over the internet.

To hear more about the Internet First programme, listen to the Delivering Internet First broadcast or download the slide deck from 18 September 2019. You will need to register to access these documents.


There are currently no upcoming events.

If you wish to be notified of future Internet First workshops and webinars, please subscribe to the Internet First mailing list.

HSCN connectivity

Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) is designed to provide high quality, security enhanced and best value internet connectivity for the health and social care sector. It also provides ongoing access to systems and services not yet accessible over the internet. 

HSCN: A stepping stone to ‘internet first’ services

Tom Denwood, Executive Director of Data, Insights and Statistics at NHS Digital, explains how the Health and Social Care Network can help us make the transition to ‘internet first’ services while saving the system millions of pounds.

Cloud services

National guidance has been published setting clear expectations for health and care organisations who want to use cloud services or data offshoring to store patient information.

Contact us

If you have any questions about Internet First, please:

Further information

  1. internal

    Internet First Policy

    In line with the government strategic direction, this is the Internet First policy defined by NHS Digital.

  2. external
  3. external

    The NHS Long Term Plan

    This plan sets out how the NHS will accelerate the redesign of patient care to future-proof the NHS for the decade ahead.

Last edited: 22 September 2020 2:24 pm