Refresh User Guide


Important Note

The NHSmail Refresh is now entering into the final stages of migration. This means all account types, including those on unsupported versions of Outlook, will be migrated before the end of the year.

If your Outlook desktop client fails to connect following your account migration it is likely that you are using an unsupported version. To continue accessing your emails please use the Outlook Web App (OWA). A full list of supported Outlook versions can be found here, should you have any questions please reach out to your Local Administrator.

If this is not relevant to you, please continue to read the rest of the Refresh User Guide below.

This guide sets out everything you need to know about the NHSmail Refresh. Starting with an overview of the transition, how to best prepare, through to information and guidance on the new, exciting features that will be made available to you and your colleagues.

The guide has been split into the following sections for you to explore:

1 What’s Happening? Find out about the NHSmail Refresh
2 Roadmap A look at timelines and what to expect next
3 How does the NHSmail Refresh impact me? What to do before, during and after your account has been refreshed
4 Self Help Follow these self-help steps should you experience an issue post refresh
5 Communications Read about the communications you will receive throughout the process
6 Web Mail Changes Find out how your email experience is changing as part of the refresh
7 O365 Feature Introduction Explore the features included as part of the improved NHSmail service offering and follow links to further training materials
8 Temporary Changes Sets out the temporary functional changes you will experience throughout the refresh
9 Security Guidance on security best practice
10 Support Check out the support channels available should you experience an issue
11 Additional Information Additional information to ensure a smooth refresh of your account

For immediate queries, please explore the programme’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.  What’s Happening?

The NHSmail service is moving fully to Microsoft Office 365 (O365). This is the first step in delivering new services to improve collaboration across health and social care.What does this mean for you? Following the Refresh, you’ll have access to a range of new, exciting Office 365 applications and features, such as Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint. Accessible in one digital workplace, across all your devices.The refreshed service will deliver several benefits, such as:

  • Easier collaboration with your colleagues across the NHSmail network
  • Work from any device, anywhere, at any time
  • Tools to create hubs for project and group working
  • Rich real-time messaging chat with co-workers
  • Access to advanced audio and video meetings

 2. Roadmap

When is this going to happen? Take a look at the timeline below:

3. How does the NHSmail Refresh impact me?

The refresh will happen in the background and should not impact your day to day work. Check out the simple steps below to find out what to do before, during and after the refresh:

3.1 Before the refresh:

1. Explore the NHSmail Support Site for all the Refresh related content

2. Visit the FAQ page should you have a question

3. Familiarise yourself with some of the temporary functional changes following your refresh. Follow this link to understand more about each of these changes including screenshots and examples to guide you

4. Make a note of your Local Administrator (LA) contact details as they will be on hand to support during the refresh.  To find your LA:

  • Log into the NHSmail Portal
  • Select the ‘Help’ icon
  • Click ‘Organisation’ to find your LA details

5. Relax, there are no technical steps required in order to prepare

3.2 During the refresh:

How will I know when my account is going to be refreshed?

Your account will be refreshed from summer 2020. Some of your colleagues’ accounts maybe refreshed before (or after) your own. In any event, you’ll receive an email letting you know when your specific account has been scheduled for refresh within 2 weeks.

What happens if I am working during my refresh?

We will be refreshing NHSmail accounts overnight, so those working during the day will be unaffected. If you are working during the night whilst your account is refreshed, you will have a slightly different experience depending on how you access your emails. These are explained below.

3.3 After your refresh:

Continue using the services as you did before.

Read your welcome email for quick access to support channels including the Temporary Changes and Self Help articles, along with tips showing you how to make the most of the updated service.

OWA users will be prompted to enter their location and language settings

Note: It is important that all participants have set their locations/time settings set accurately, otherwise meetings and appointments may not appear in the correct calendar location.

  • Upon first launch of your Outlook client following the refresh, you may experience a short delay in your mailbox connecting. Restarting your client may speed up this process. Should the issue persist please contact your local IT provider or raise a ticket with the NHSmail help desk.
  • You may be requested to re-enter your password. If you have forgotten your password, please follow these instructions.

Important Note

If you have Multi-Factor authentication (MFA) enabled on your account. You will need to follow the self-service instructions in this article to temporarily disable MFA prior to the first launch of your desktop outlook client following your upgrade. This does not effect OWA or mobile device access. For more specific guidance please see section 3.4 below.

3.4 Using a Mobile Device:

Native iOS or Android Mobile Mail Application

If you are using the built in iOS or Android mail application on your phone you won’t need to do anything – your emails should start to sync immediately, and you can continue working.

Outlook Mobile Application

If you use the Outlook application on your mobile device, you will need to complete a few additional steps to get it working following your upgrade. These will be slightly different depending on the version of the application you have and the device you are using.

The basic steps on how to do this are included below. For more detailed step by step instructions with screenshots, please click here.

Open the Outlook application on your phone


Navigate to settings cog icon



Select your NHSmail email account. Once in the account, select ‘Delete Account’ (don’t worry this will just delete it from your mobile device)


You’ll then be prompted to ‘Add Account’ – enter your NHSmail email address and password


You should now start to receive emails through the application on your phone – try a test email to check it is working

4. Self Help Tips

Should you experience any issues immediately after the refresh, there are a few self-helps steps you can try to improve performance.

Follow this link for step by step guidance with screenshots to guide you. If your issues persist after completing the self-help tips, please follow the guidance provided in the Support Channels section on how to proceed.

a) Accessing Email: Discover the different routes to access Outlook

b) Improve Outlook Performance: Check out how to improve Outlook performance after your upgrade

c) Manage Shared Calendars: Instructions on how to re-add shared calendars

d) Open Shared Mailboxes: Instructions on how to open shared mailboxes following your refresh

5. Communications

All refresh related emails will be sent to you from:  ** Please be aware that this mailbox is not monitored.
You’ll receive these communications at three key milestones in your journey:Should you require support, please follow the steps listed here

6. Changes to Web Mail

If you use the web to access your email (also known as Outlook Web Access or (OWA)) there will be a few changes to how this looks after your refresh. The way you access your email will remain the same, please click here to go to OWA.

Click here for all you need to know about your refreshed web mail service, including What’s New. Watch these short videos to learn more about how to use the different features of your upgraded OWA experience.

These changes don’t apply if you use the Outlook desktop application. In the event you have problems with the Outlook desktop application following your refresh, please contact your Local Admin to advise further.

7. O365 Features

Your refreshed NHSmail services will provide you access to a range of new exciting O365 features. This includes Teams, which can be used for instant messaging, audio and video calls, OneDrive where you can host files in the cloud and access from anywhere, as well as SharePoint to support document management and collaboration across your organisation.

Explore the O365 Feature Introduction to see the full list of applications available to you after your refresh including some examples on how to use them and links to external training materials.

One of the additional benefits of using Exchange Online is that you will experience the benefits of Exchange Online Archiving. Online Archiving is a solution that enables you to store and manage older or legacy emails outside of your primary mailbox – freeing up quota space and improving Outlook performance. For detailed guidance and to learn more, please visit this support site article.

8. Temporary Changes

There are some temporary functional changes to be aware of following your refresh. Follow this link to understand more about each of these changes including screenshots and examples to guide you. The linked article will be regularly updated so please keep an eye on the page and ask your Local Administrator if you have any queries.

A selection of the key changes have been included below:

a) Sharing Calendars Internally: If you’ve undergone the NHSmail refresh and your colleague hasn’t, you will need to accept their calendar sharing request in a certain way.

b) Sharing Calendars Externally: After the refresh, for a temporary period you will be unable to share your calendar with an external recipient (a non account).

c) Browsing rooms with OWA: When searching for a room in OWA to add to a calendar invite, it won’t show all the room options. You’ll be required to add the room email address directly as an attendee.

d)  Full access Delegate Permissions:Throughout the NHSmail Refresh, the way in which you access a mailbox to which you have delegate permissions will change. Please visit the guidance via the link above to work through the scenarios.

9. Security

How security is managed across the platform will not change following the Refresh. There will be:

  • No change to your username and password
  • No change to the how you access your email
  • No change to the NHSmail Helpdesk contact information

As always, please be aware of spam and malicious emails and report any suspicious emails to, you’ll never be asked to:

  • Provide your password; either on the phone or via email
  • Provide us with the complete answer to your security questions, only the relevant letters
  • Log into your account from any website other than

10. Support Channels

If you experience any issues at any stage throughout the refresh journey, please follow these best practices:

11. Additional Information

11.1 Clinical Safety:

The NHSmail platform has been centrally reviewed against DCB0129 Clincal Safety Standards and has received Clinical Authority to Release (CATR). As always it is recommended that local organisations carry out a local IG and clinical safety appraisal (DCB0160) to determine appropriate usage of new services and applications in relation to local requirements. For any additional queries around clinical safety standards, please contact NHS Digital.

11.2 Business Continuity:

You should make sure that you are familiar with your local organisation’s business continuity processes. These are the processes that your service or team should adopt in the event of unavailability of NHSmail/email.

Updated on 27/01/2022

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