NHS service standard - 2. and 3. Work towards solving a whole problem for users and provide a joined up experience across all channels

Consider where your service fits in your users' healthcare journey and whether you can solve a whole problem or influence a wider solution.

Collaborate across team, programme and organisational boundaries and create a service that meets users' needs across all channels.


In the GOV.UK service standard, these are 2 separate points but our user research showed that it helped digital teams working in health to deal with them together.

Why it's important

Health is complex. People often do not know how health and care organisations and services fit together. It helps if you can bring things together into a journey which makes sense to users, irrespective of which organisation they "belong" to or the channel they use.

You may not be able to fix a whole problem, but you may be able to improve it and to support or influence a wider solution.

What you should do

Your team should be able to show that you:

  • understand where the user need you're addressing fits into wider healthcare journeys or how it will join up with other things to solve a whole problem for users
  • make it easy for users to focus on the next step in a journey or in managing their health, helping them get the right help from the right place at the right time
  • are addressing any problems with internal processes, policy or legislation that make it difficult to join things up and to address a whole problem
  • work with front line and admin staff, where appropriate, and invite them and policy people to attend user research and to contribute to decisions
  • research, test and make changes to users' experience of online and offline channels (for example, call centre scripts and letters)
  • minimise the number of times users provide the same information to NHS services (while respecting their privacy)
  • have a viable service with a scope that is based on how users think - not too wide and not too narrow
  • have considered alternatives to creating a service - for example, running a health campaign, partnering with another organisation, or making an API available - or doing nothing
  • have built relationships with other teams and organisations to make your service more effective
  • work in the open so that people outside the organisation know what you are doing, to increase the potential for collaboration and reduce duplication of effort


GOV.UK resources

Read more about this

Help us improve this guidance

Share insights or feedback and take part in the discussion. We use GitHub as a collaboration space. All the information on it is open to the public.

If you've gone through a service assessment or peer review, we're especially interested to hear from you.

Read more about how to feedback or share insights.

If you have any questions, get in touch with the service manual team.

Updated: March 2022