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NHSmail password policy

The NHSmail password policy was introduced in May 2019 to help keep the NHSmail service safe in line with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidelines.

Passwords are valid for 365 days all users will receive reminders to change their password via email 18, 10, 5, 2 and 1 day(s) before it is expiry date.

.  All passwords must follow the following criteria:

  • Minimum length – 10 characters without requiring a mix of character types
  • Not matching previous 4 passwords
  • Not detected as a common password, for example Password123, Winter2018
  • Not detected as a breached password (a password used for an account that has previously been compromised). Breached passwords will be sourced from an internet-based breach database
Important note

We know that common passwords are currently used on the NHSmail service by a number of users. In the future, users who do not meet the above criteria will receive a failure message when changing their password.

Top tip

A good way to create a strong and memorable password is to use three random words. Users should be creative and use words that are memorable to only them, so that people can’t guess their password.

Some reminders to help users keep their NHSmail account active and get the best experience from their account:

  • Add mobile number and security questions to their profile this will allow a user to reset their own password and unlock their account.
  • Change password on all devices to prevent their account from becoming locked, users  will need to update their password on all the devices (including personal devices) that they use to access NHSmail, for example mobile phone, Outlook desktop, tablet etc.

Further information is available in the guidance below:

Updated on 04/08/2021

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