NHS moves major systems to AWS cloud

Written by Sam Trendall on 29 January 2020 in News
News

Two national services have been migrated to cloud environment

Two major NHS digital services have been moved to an Amazon Web Services cloud environment. 

NHS Digital has completed the migration process for the e-Referral Service (e-RS) and the NHS 111 Directory of Services. The two are the “first major NHS systems” to do so, but many more are due to follow in the coming months.

The e-RS system is used to process about 18 million referrals from GPs for patients to receive secondary-care appointments. It can be used in-surgery by doctors, or by patients themselves – who can select from various time, data, and location options, and book, cancel or change hospital consultations.


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The 111 directory, meanwhile, is an online information hub used by clinical staff, call handlers, and citizens to provide “real-time information about available services”. The goal is to allow patients to describe their symptoms once only, and then be quickly directed to the most appropriate service for their needs. It processes about 16 million searches each year.

Neil Bennett, director of services at NHS Digital, said: “There are a wealth of benefits that come from moving large systems like e-RS and DoS to the cloud. Costs are lowered, reducing pressure on the public purse, there is better security and reliability, as well as greater flexibility, performance, scalability and availability, to name a few. This was a tremendous collaborative effort across many different teams here and with external partners, to migrate such large systems with a minimum of disruption to users, in a reasonably short timescale.”

NHS Digital’s sustainability manager Ben Tongue said that the organisation is “working with AWS to achieve full transparency on the energy use and carbon impact of the contract”.

“Cloud migration is a key element of our sustainability strategy at NHS Digital, because it offers real benefits in terms of energy saving,” he added. “Large cloud operators like AWS provide significant energy and carbon savings against enterprise and legacy systems.”

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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