Video: the NHS website
In this video, find out how the NHS website connects you to the health information and services you need.
Media review due: 1 September 2024
We're not just a website
Millions of people also access our content through:
- partner websites
- internet-connected devices
More than 2,000 organisations share our content, including other NHS websites, local authorities, charities and commercial organisations, from start-ups to large technology leaders.
With our range of APIs and widgets, we have made it simple to connect and syndicate our content.
Read more about our free syndication programme on the NHS API Developer Portal.
What we do
Video: the NHS website - what we do
This video explains more about what the NHS website does and what our offer includes.
Media review due: 10 August 2023
NHS.UK - what we do
We aim to:
- Improve health and care outcomes.
- Improve people’s experiences of health and care services.
- Reduce pressure on frontline services.
- Make health and care services more efficient.
We're focused on meeting the health and care needs of people across England. We provide NHS information through a range of digital channels, including:
- the NHS website (nhs.uk)
- social media platforms
- APIs and syndication services that connect and share our content
Our offer includes:
Information about health, healthcare and social care, for example:
- symptoms, conditions and treatments
- risk factors
- self-care and self-referral advice
Information to help people access and use health and care services, for example:
- the ability to self-refer to a psychological therapy service
- profiles of service providers, including services offered, contact details and opening hours
Guidance about how to respond to major health events. This includes what people can do to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families. For example:
- advice on how to protect everyone's health and use the NHS in
Help to change behaviour to improve health and wellbeing, for example:
- couch to 5K running plan
- advice on quitting smoking
Information to help people make more confident decisions about care and treatment, for example:
- service finders to help people choose a service that best suits their needs
- information on treatment options for different health conditions
Sharing feedback on NHS services, for example:
- our ratings and reviews service lets people give feedback on their experiences with health and care providers and allows providers to respond
- we publish patient experiences to help other people choose services
Signposting to specialist information, advice and support, for example:
- referral to charity websites and online communities for further information
- highlighting specialist apps and online services
Helping people understand their rights when using services, for example:
- letting patients choose if their data is used for research and planning
- outlining carers’ rights to support and benefits
- explaining how to complain about care and treatment
What we do not do
See what we do not do
We do not provide:
- Clinical services. NHS.UK can complement such services, however it is not structured to provide clinical services in its own right. We do not, for example, provide advice based on an assessment of an individual's clinical needs.
- Health campaigns that are not primarily NHS-branded – such as Change4Life or One You. These may however still be published via our channels and will be clearly signposted from content and functionality published in our channels.
- Detailed information and guidance about policies, regulations or legislation – of the kind more appropriately published via GOV.UK and www.legislation.gov.uk.
- Public consultations – generally published on the NHS England website or on GOV.UK.
- Official information from ministers – generally published on GOV.UK
- Information for patients and service-users in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – the responsibility of www.wales.nhs.uk, www.hscni.net and www.nhs24.scot respectively.
- Information or services that can be more effectively supplied by other organisations, including those in the third sector, and commercial organisations.
- Information not primarily intended for a public audience.
- Professional training, qualifications, volunteering or recruitment information, advice or opportunities.
- Promoting commercial organisations without a defined user benefit.
- Information that should be hosted on GOV.UK - read more about the GOV.UK proposition.
- Organisational communications. This information, usually intended to meet an organisation’s short-term needs to manage events and current affairs is generally published on GOV.UK or the NHS England website.
- Transparency information relating to NHS services beyond NHS.UK. This information, for example data transparency notices, is generally published on the website of the organisation providing the service.
NHS.UK and COVID-19
See our response to COVID-19
We continue to concentrate on individual citizens’ concerns about their own health and care. This is key in distinguishing our coronavirus content and services from those on GOV.UK.
At NHS.UK, we:
- focus on meeting needs such as ‘what should I do to protect myself and my family’s health?’
- provide content and services so people can take care of their own health and to know when and how to get help
- provide direct access to a service, such as 'Get a coronavirus test', or signpost to them, such as the NHS 111 online coronavirus service
- signpost people to specialist coronavirus information for particular conditions, typically provided by charities or other organisations
While we help people understand actions they may need to take, we do not provide advice based on an individual’s clinical needs.
We promote public health content relevant to coronavirus, including:
- avoiding infection
- testing and tracing
- improving your mental health during the crisis
- maintaining a healthy lifestyle
How we’ve changed our approach during the pandemic
During the pandemic, we've changed our approach to:
- Home nations’ content. The complexity of differences in service eligibility and access routes has led us to introduce some additional detail to our redirection to home nations’ parallel digital resources.
- The service aim of ‘reducing pressure on the front line’. This is always a matter of striking a balance to target inappropriate usage, but that balance has shifted somewhat as we respond to a pattern of public caution around accessing crucial clinical services during the crisis.
We've also created an updated coronavirus syndication offer to support people to easily integrate the latest content on the virus.
How we work
We put users first when creating and transforming our content. We take an agile, iterative approach, starting with identifying the user needs.
We test our ideas with users, and use the feedback we receive to learn and improve.
To ensure our content is safe, accurate and up to date, we:
- source peer-reviewed scientific research from NHS Evidence
- must have all clinical content signed off by a member of our NHS Digital clinical assurance team
NHS digital service manual
The NHS digital service manual helps NHS teams design and build consistent, usable digital services that put people first.
- the NHS.UK frontend library
- prototyping kit
- design principles
- UI styles, patterns and components
- the content style guide
- accessibility and other practice guidance
How we're improving
We're continuously improving the NHS website to help and empower people to engage with their own health, care and wellbeing, and that of the people they care for.
The Empower the Person roadmap sets out what's available now, work in progress and what's next.
We have already introduced a new, clearer site design that's more accessible and readable, and designed primarily for mobile devices.
Other examples of the improvements we're making include:
- reworking thousands of pages of clinically validated content, tools and services to better meet user needs and improve accessibility
- publishing new content on commonly used medicines
- modularising our content to improve its availability through syndication
- listening to data and metrics to evolve and adapt our approach
You can read more about the work we're doing on the digital transformation blog.
How to get in touch
To contact the NHS website team about anything on the NHS website:
To contact the NHS about something else:
If you're interested in working for NHS Digital:
Page last reviewed: 15 August 2019
Next review due: 15 August 2022