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If an organisation commits to buy, or buys web hosting, anticipating that a requested domain will be granted, it does so at its own risk. This will have no bearing on the final decision on whether an nhs.uk domain is granted.
If an nhs.uk domain is granted to an organisation, that organisation will be responsible for ensuring the website meets the necessary security standards.
Failure to meet these standards will result in removal of the domain.
- All requests to come via local Communications Leads, with the exception of GP practice managers/lead partners
- Requests for patient-facing websites providing health advice and information already on nhs.uk will be rejected
- Organisations permitted to use the nhs.uk domain should be limited to one public-facing domain per organisation, barring exceptional circumstances
- Where one NHS organisation leads, NHS services should be delivered via that organisation's corporate site. Commercial activity aimed at other NHS organisations is permitted subject to brand clearance
- Local NHS organisations should use a geographic identifier, so they don't appear to be national
- Where NHS organisations are working in equal partnership on a service, they are allowed one local identifier NHS domain. If they can show evidence that the service is national, a more generic URL will be allowed. One NHS Communications Lead will need to be the nominated owner and the single point of contact
- Commercial activity aimed at the public, or paid advertising, is not permitted
The following organisations are permitted to have an nhs.uk website:
- DH agencies and public bodies - subject to clearance to use the NHS brand, all requests must come via the DH Digital Team - requests from elsewhere will be rejected (points 1 to 7 apply)
- national organisations wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Health and with clearance to use the NHS brand (points 1 to 7 apply)
- NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts (points 1 to 7 apply)
- CCGs (points 1 to 7 apply)
- CSUs (points 1 to 7 apply)
- GP Surgeries/Clinics (points 2 to 7 apply)
- independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) (points 1 to 7 apply)
- NHS healthcare services (points 1 to 7 apply)
The following will NOT be granted an nhs.uk domain:
- local health campaigns - see point 2 - anything specific to the local trust should be delivered via the corporate site
- consultations - these should be delivered via the existing corporate website or consultation packages, such as Citizenspace
- single trusts leading on a national level, such as for a rare disease, should develop content on their corporate website (points 1 to 7 apply)
- individuals (including elected representatives)
- associations representing public sector staff
- public sector pension funds
- social enterprises/community interest companies - no new ones will be granted, subject to the brand review
- fundraising charities, voluntary and privately-owned organisations, including charitable arms of NHS trusts
- companies and organisations registered by Companies House, such as private companies (limited by shares or guarantee), private unlimited companies and public liability companies
- public, privately-owned or charitable organisations undertaking work or programmes both targeting and within the NHS
- internet management and network-related companies, including Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and hosting companies
- British overseas territories and international organisations
For GP surgeries, domain names should reflect the official name of the surgery. We will actively discourage websites including the name of the doctors employed there unless it's the name of the surgery.
It's advised that after obtaining your organisation's domain name (yourorg.nhs.uk), any future requests to add host names, applications or services should create and then apply for a sub-domain (child domain) below the main domain name.
NHS.UK domains must follow the NHS identity guidelines laid down by the DH and should not, under any circumstances, be used by third parties or private companies for commercial purposes or for the promotion of a commercial corporate identity.
With respect to external (www) website registration, we cannot delegate the domain name to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The nhs.uk namespace is assigned for use for messaging, as well as website name resolution within the N3.
Therefore, we can only allow 'Address' records or 'CNAME' records on our external DNS servers for external (www) websites.
The use of wildcard entries (anytown.nhs.uk) is considered poor use of DNS and will not be added onto the NHS.UK namespace. Requests should be for specific sub-domains.
The NHS Digital DNS team reserves the right to remove any DNS zones and associated DNS records on the nhs.uk Name Servers if it feels that the domain name in question is contravening any of our policies. For further advice and guidance, please contact email@example.com.
In the interests of ongoing improvements to cyber security and clinical safety, the DNS team are reviewing the use of off-infrastructure delegations.
An off-infrastructure delegation exists where an NS Record is created to delegate control of a sub-domain of nhs.uk to a DNS service outside of the HSCN DNS Service.
While this review is in progress, the DNS Team have been asked to cease creation of new off-infrastructure delegations. The review will culminate in publication of new DNS policy and will take into account guidance from Cabinet Office, NCSC and NHS Digital stakeholders.
The review of, and moratorium on, new off-infrastructure delegations does not affect requests for creation of static record types; A, PTR, MX, TXT etc., and CNAME where appropriate.
In extremely rare cases it may still be necessary to create NS records to support off-infrastructure delegations, where no other technical alternative exists. Such requests will be individually evaluated by senior colleagues on a case-by-case basis and used to help us develop better policy and guidance.