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NHS e-Referrals and Directory of Services go to cloud

27/01/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

Two major NHS online services have completed a migration to the cloud, NHS Digital has announced.

Cloud against sunlight

It said the e-Referral Service (e-RS) and NHS 111 Directory of Services have been moved onto AWS Cloud Computing Services.

They are the first major systems to complete migration as part of a broader move towards the cloud in the NHS.

NHS Digital said the e-RS service has been enabled for direct internet access but will not be fully available for public internet access until NHS Identity assumes responsibility for user authentication in the spring.

The service is currently used by about 1,100 healthcare provider organisations for 70,000 patient referrals per day.

The Directory of Service provides clinicians, call handlers, commissioners and patients with information about appropriate alternative services and clinicians, and handles over 16 million searches per year.

Neil Bennett, NHS Digital’s director of services, said there are a number of benefits from the migration, including lower costs, better security and reliability, flexibility and scalability.

Sustainability contribution

Ben Tongue, the organisation’s sustainability manager, said: “Cloud migration is a key element of our sustainability strategy at NHS Digital, because it offers real benefits in terms of energy saving.  Large cloud operators like AWS provide significant energy and carbon savings against enterprise and legacy systems. 

“We are working with AWS to achieve full transparency on the energy use and carbon impact of the contract, so that we can continue to focus on ensuring that our storage systems are as energy efficient as possible, reducing carbon emissions and minimising environmental impact.”

The announcement comes a few months after NHS Shared Business Services made a significant contribution to cloud migration in the health service with the creation of the Cloud Solutions Framework for the sector.

Image by Sergio Russ, CC BY-SA 2.0

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