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The NHS website: how we work

Linking to and from the NHS website

If you would like the NHS website (www.nhs.uk) to link to your website, please download our links self-assessment form (PDF, 96kb) to check if your site is likely to meet our criteria.

To submit a link for consideration, please email nhswebsite.servicedesk@nhs.net

The NHS website includes links to hundreds of external websites on article pages across the site and in our links library. These links are provided to give users quick access to the widest possible range of high-quality information resources on health.

We take great care over the websites we link to and review them regularly, but we are not responsible for the content of those sites. The inclusion of a link to an external website from the NHS website should not, therefore, be interpreted as an endorsement of that site, its content, or any product or service it may provide.

Transactions between users and any external site are not the responsibility of the NHS website. Read our terms and conditions.

Removal of links

If you would like us to remove a link to your website from the NHS website, please contact us by emailing nhswebsite.servicedesk@nhs.net. Note that unless you have a legal right to demand removal, such removal will be at our discretion.

How our links are chosen

Before we link to an external website, we perform a rigorous check to assess its suitability. We do not link to sites in return for money, services or any other consideration in kind.

It is a requirement of all websites that we link to that they:

  • are free to access 
  • do not require registration to view basic content
  • make a clear distinction between normal editorial content and any advertising they may carry
  • have not been set up solely for the purposes of ordering consumables

We also ask that external websites should:

  • clearly state their sources of funding
  • have a quality-assurance procedure
  • present a responsible perspective, reflecting the existence of choices
  • are regularly reviewed and kept up to date
  • on health matters, use current and reliable clinical evidence that is verifiable from other sources
  • contain a link to www.nhs.uk

Please note that these requirements do not generally apply to sites, such as the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store, that have a primary purpose of providing access to a wide range of digital tools including, but not restricted to, those categorised as being relevant to health and care. Where we judge it to be helpful to our users for us to link to such sites in order to provide access to specific digital tools, we may do so without reference to some or all of the terms of our external links policy.

Social media links

In addition to linking to specific websites we may also link to content hosted on various social media platforms. Although we choose the pages and communities we link to carefully, it is important to understand that:

  • We do not review the pages and communities we link to at a frequency that would constitute routine or continual monitoring of their content.
  • Individual users are free to post whatever they want on these platforms – their comments may not necessarily reflect reality, and should never be taken as medical advice.
  • Anything you post on these platforms may be publicly visible. Don't share anything you wouldn't feel comfortable talking about with a stranger, and avoid giving away too much personal information.

If you'd like to let us know what you think about the communities we link to, or report a problem, you can contact us here.

Where we link to social media platforms – we highlight the nature of the linked content and its likely basis in un-validated personal experience on the page containing the links.

Understanding how social networks use your data

Social networks use information about your online activity to build a profile of you. This data is then used to send you targeted adverts across various digital platforms.

You should be aware that interacting with health-related content on social media may help to build the profile of you that social networks maintain, and could result in you receiving adverts related to health issues.

This process of collecting data for advertising purposes is not controlled by the NHS website, and we do not have access to the data stored by social networks about you.

You can find out more about how we manage data in the NHS website privacy policy.

Linking to NHS Choices

The NHS website welcomes and encourages other websites to link to it. To offer users a better experience, consider using descriptive anchor text and linking directly to the relevant NHS.UK website article page.

Source code guidance – for reasons of accessibility we recommend that you use titles when creating links. This will enable screenreaders to read out the link to the user. The title will also appear to users when hovering over the link with their mouse, giving additional information of what to expect from the page they are being directed to. Get help with accessibility.

Using the NHS Choices logo

If you wish to put a logo link to the NHS website on your homepage, you can use one of the following graphics as a visual link. Please do not reduce the size of these graphics as it will make the text unreadable.

Should you have any further questions about this linking policy, please contact us by emailing nhswebsite.servicedesk@nhs.net.

Page last reviewed: 09/12/2015

Next review due: 09/12/2018

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