The NHS Commissioning Board is looking at using multiple suppliers to provide NHSmail2, using the G-Cloud procurement framework.

NHSmail provides an email service to around half a million staff in a variety of health and care environments. Its successor – NHSmail2 – is being sponsored by the NHS CB and will be delivered from Summer 2014.

Deputy government chief information officer Liam Maxwell told EHI Live 2012 last week that the NHSmail reprocurement is “coming through the (Cabinet Office) controls process as we speak.”

“I’m looking at it in December. The idea around that is about having multiple suppliers so you can choose who to go with, and with open standards between them so you’re not locked into a monolithic contract.”

He said the new NHSmail service would be available via the G-Cloud store.

“It’s a really interesting way of doing it and lots of other departments are looking at it.”

Maxwell added that: “it’s time for trusts that don’t sign up for NHSmail to explain why they are going their own way.”

Dr Simon Eccles, medical director of the Department of Health Informatics Directorate and senior responsible officer for NHSmail, told eHealth Insider that both a framework based around the G-Cloud procurement and a single supplier contract are being considered.

“A final decision can only be met when we have a firm grasp of specific user requirements. Equally, we need to ensure the best value for money for the NHS,” he said

“Preparation for the future of NHSmail is in full swing and we are looking for user and supplier views to help ensure that everyone gets the best out of the new system.”

Dr Eccles said anyone wanting to feedback on what the new service should look like can do so through a forum on NHS networks or by directly emailing the NHSmail team at

“There are many options to consider; larger mailbox quotas, (an idea staff have already told us they are very keen on), instant messaging and cloud storage being just three.

"However, nothing is set in stone as yet – all options are still on the table,” he explained.

“The NHS is going through a time of transition and change so it is vital that NHSmail2 is adequately equipped.

“With more potential users being added to the system – about 15,000 every month – from all over the health and social care sector we need to take this opportunity to make sure that all organisations in the new system can benefit.”

Cable and Wireless is the current provider of the NHSmail service.