NHS service standard - 14. Operate a reliable service

People need the NHS 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Minimise service downtime and have a plan to deal with it when it does happen.

Why it's important

The public, patients and staff need to access NHS services throughout the day and night. If a service is unavailable or slow, it can mean people do not get the help they need.

What you should do

Your team should be able to show that you:

  • maximise uptime and speed of response for the online part of the service
  • deploy software changes regularly, without significant downtime
  • carry out quality assurance testing regularly
  • test the service in an environment that's as similar to live as possible
  • have appropriate monitoring in place, together with a proportionate, sustainable plan to respond to problems identified by monitoring (given the impact of problems on users and on the NHS)
  • actively work towards fixing any organisational or contractual issues which make it difficult to maximise availability (for example, by agreeing a common set of languages, tools, and ways of working for technical staff)


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Updated: December 2019