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  4. Registering a Primary Care Network (PCN)

Registering a Primary Care Network (PCN)

Primary Care Networks in England are eligible to apply for NHSmail.

Please note:

PCNs qualifying to join NHSmail will be permitted to create accounts for staff providing patient facing services. Departments or groups such as HR, Finance, Property Services etc will not be eligible to have NHSmail accounts.

If you think your PCN qualifies (or if you have any questions about your eligibility to use NHSmail), then please:

Key Considerations

Sub-ICB arrangements

There is no formal parent/child relationship between sub-ICB locations and PCNs. If a sub-ICB wishes to enter into a parent/child relationship with a PCN this is a local decision.

An LA from a sub-ICB can be added to the PCN container for the purposes of managing top-up licences, however PCNs only have access to a 4GB mailbox as standard.

If you wish to have a parent/child relationship in NHSmail, please contact your local sub-ICB location.

Please note: You will still need to apply for a PCN container before an Local Administrator from a sub-ICB can be assigned.

NHSmail Standard Service

As a PCN you will be given access to the NHSmail Standard Service which covers:

    • Daily Productivity: your day-to-day work is streamlined with familiar and powerful online tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. You can create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations seamlessly.
    • Smooth Communication: Instantly communicate with colleagues and service users using online meetings and chat with Teams. Plus use an email platform that helps you manage your inbox efficiently and integrates seamlessly with your calendar for scheduling and organising meetings.
    • Anywhere Access: access your work from anywhere. Your files are stored securely in the cloud with OneDrive, making it easy to work on documents whether you’re in the clinic, in the community, or desk based.
    • Mailbox and OneDrive: The standard offering provides users with a 4GB mailbox and 2GB OneDrive storage.
Please note:

If you require larger mailboxes or Office desktop applications these will need to be applied via top-up licences which can be purchased via the guidance here: https://support.nhs.net/knowledge-base/nhsmail-licence-top-ups-for-non-enterprise-agreement-organisations/

Alternatively, you may choose to seek an arrangement with your local ICB, this is at the discretion of both organisations and managed locally.

DSPT requirements

  • PCN HQ must have valid DSPT submission and achieved Standards Met
  • All GPs constituting the PCN must all have valid DSPT submission and achieved Standards Met
  • There will be a requirement to maintain DSPT and ensure the current approved standard is met.

Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)

All new user accounts set up within the PCN container will have MFA applied, as per NHSmail policy.

Any accounts joined to this organisation from another NHSmail organisation will need to have MFA applied.

There will be no exception to this and this cannot be removed.

Further information on MFA is available here.

Administrative requirements

All organisations using NHSmail must have two nominated PLAs (Primary Local Administrators), you will need to consider this role carefully before applying for NHSmail.

This user will have responsibility for managing and administering all associated accounts and for cascading NHSmail service updates and key information to appropriate stakeholders.

Existing NHSmail accounts

There is a chance that a user already exists within a GP site which is managed by an ICB or other organisation via a parent child relationship, a decision will need to be made locally to determine the appropriate location for that account.

To move accounts from an existing GP site into a PCN container you will need to use the Joiners/Leavers process

Users are only entitled to hold one NHSmail account and therefore a decision would need to be made on whether to transfer the original account,or create a new identity which means the original would be subject to deletion.

Please note:

GP sites may have users with 50GB mailboxes, PCN accounts only qualify for 4GB mailboxes, unless purchased as a top-up this needs consideration before moving accounts.

Updated on 02/05/2024

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