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)


GOV.UK resources

Would you like to contribute to the NHS service standard?

If you have any questions, you can message us on Slack. You will need a Slack account if you do not have one. Or you can contact us by email.

Updated: December 2019