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This service enhances the existing NHSmail platform by enabling staff in health and social care to work more efficiently and collaboratively, through more readily and securely shared information between health and social care organisations, to help deliver better care.
The NHS Directory has been synchronised with the Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to allow the enablement of the O365 services.
Once organisations are licensed for the service they will benefit from an integrated experience when using O365.
The NHSmail O365 Hybrid service provides a single, secure, national O365 tenant for health and care organisations offering benefits which include:
integrated identity - integration of the existing NHSmail identity (nhs.net) with the potential to integrate with other business applications using a single, transferable identity
national and regional collaboration - a single tenant provides an opportunity to collaborate more easily with other organisations regionally and nationally across O365
single front door to digital collaboration services - the NHSmail O365 Hybrid service leverages capability from the existing NHSmail Portal to provide access to O365 services
consistent administration experience - the NHSmail Portal has been developed to enable the administration of O365 services with configuration designed in line with national standards and assurances
timely onboarding - organisations will be able to provision services directly to end users as soon as licences are on-boarded, reducing the need for implementation projects to configure local tenants and services
conformance to national standards - the NHSmail platform will continue to deliver services against national standards and security best practices
dedicated national helpdesk available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: support is available via the existing NHSmail helpdesk to support local organisations in managing their O365 services
Azure AD: a cloud-based directory that enables secure identity management for NHSmail. Users can log into NHSmail and O365 platforms using the same NHSmail username and password for both - so there is no need to remember multiple credentials for different services
central administration - through the NHSmail Portal, organisations have access to administration features for O365 services such as assigning licences, enabling applications and creating SharePoint sites
B2B and guest access - through the NHSmail Portal, organisations can securely invite guests to collaborate and share content via federated groups and 1:1 guest access, allowing inter-organisation collaboration whilst maintaining control through allow lists.
Security and data hosting
The hybrid model for O365 does not change the current NHSmail Exchange and Skype for Business services, which will remain outside of the O365 tenant and continue to be hosted within NHSmail data centres in England.
Both NHS and non-NHS users (such as social care providers) will see no change to how they currently access NHSmail and organisations will not incur additional licence costs from synchronisation with Azure AD.
O365 licences must be procured by NHS organisations directly from Microsoft or their licence reseller, as they do currently - O365 licences will not be available to procure through NHSmail. Organisations are not required to procure Azure AD licences to consume the O365 service.
Organisations can register to use the NHSmail O365 Hybrid service via the NHSmail Portal, where they can submit their O365 licence details for allocation to the central NHSmail tenant.
The expected cost to both NHS and non-NHS organisations is the cost of the O365 licence, if the organisation wishes to use the NHSmail O365 Hybrid service.