NHSmail is to migrate to a new message server and infrastructure after suppliers Cable and Wireless signed a contract with infrastructure provider Mirapoint.

The new system was piloted on an initial 200,000 accounts. C&W plan to migrate all 1.3m users of NHSmail over the next 12-18 months, and all users will still be able to access their mail using Outlook or with a web browser, and continue to have calendaring, scheduling and address book functionality.

Length and value of the contract was not disclosed.

Bethany Mayer, chief marketing officer for Mirapoint, told E-Health Insider: “We are providing NHSmail users with a new mail server and web client. It also includes security for the system including anti-spam and anti-virus filters.

“We have started putting the system in place. There are 1.3m users to migrate to our system, and we currently have 200,000 registered and active users on Mirapoint.”

Mayer added: “Feedback was all very positive. Users are impressed with the new mail system. The old system was hard for them to use, they struggled with it and couldn’t share the service. Now, with Mirapoint, they can collaborate.

“We are now looking at continually moving the installation plans along. We now want to continue migration of users in large chunks over the next 12–18 months. We are also looking at some new services to expand on what we are currently offering users.”

Danny Reeves, Cable and Wireless UK’s head of delivery , said: “For the NHSmail project, we needed a robust solution that would offer NHS staff an extremely easy to use and manage messaging service while addressing their security concerns.

“Mirapoint’s flexible approach allowed us to tailor the messaging system to fit the NHS IT infrastructure exactly. Given the sensitive data circulating within the NHS, Mirapoint’s secure appliances and highly regarded anti-spam and anti-virus protection played a crucial part in our decision.”

Mayer said that Mirapoint had software that would integrate with BlackBerrys, but the NHS had opted out of this service.

She added, however, that the secure messaging community would be of great benefit to users.

“Mirapoint will offer closer collaboration between users. It has a very strong reliability factor and works better than Microsoft. Uptime on the system is more reliable and more available and the web-based client means they can see their e-mails on any machine. It will also encrypt confidential information so security is guaranteed.”

Barry Ariko, CEO of Mirapoint, said: “The NHS Connecting for Health programme is a huge undertaking, which will have significant impact on the delivery of health services in the UK. We are pleased to have been able to provide such a fundamental part of the new infrastructure. We are confident that this new service will continue to provide NHS staff with the messaging environment needed to better serve patients across the UK.”