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Getting the most out of NHS Networks - Free services and paid support

NHS Networks is a free resource for clinicians, commissioners, care professionals, managers, staff, leaders, followers – and anyone who works in the NHS and social care.

NHS Networks enables the sharing of information, discussion and creation of virtual communities of interest (“networks”). If you run or belong to a network somewhere else, a presence on NHS Networks could complement your existing activities – helping keep the conversation going between meetings and giving you easy ways to manage and communicate with members.

Even if your network already has a website, NHS Networks may allow you to do things you can’t already do – offer your members a private discussion forum, for example. If you don’t have a website, consider using NHS Networks instead. It’s free and you’ll be part of a community of tens of thousands of like-minded colleagues.

NHS Networks also provides daily news alerts straight to your inbox. You can also receive a weekly newsletter every Friday containing a summary of the week’s news. (You don’t have to be a member of a specific network to use the news service – just register with NHS Networks).

Here are some of the things NHS Networks lets you do:

Find a network

The network finder is a search tool that allows the individual to search for relevant networks.

Create a network

A network creation wizard enables a new network to be created within minutes. A network can be “open to all”, “invitation only” or “apply to join”. The administrator controls access to networks and membership criteria. Networks that require complete privacy will not show up in searches. 

Manage a network

Each network’s administrator(s) can invite potential members by importing an email list and vet new applications according to the network’s membership criteria. New members can be approved or emailed if further information is needed. The administrator can also send messages to members.

Share resources

The network administrator can use simple templates to create:

  • Discussion forums (see below)
  • Blogs – administrators can publish blogs and give other members the ability to publish blogs
  • News – administrators can publish news including links to news on third-party sites
  • Folders for documents – original content and links to third-party content
  • Polls – administrators can publish polls of members (single question, multi-choice response)

The administrator controls what is published on the network and the content is visible only to members of that network. (Individual members will be able to add their own documents to networks with case-by-case approval by the administrator.)


The administrator can set up a discussion forum for members who can start their own discussion threads or respond to existing threads.
Documents and links can be attached to forum posts. Forums inherit membership characteristics of the network:  only members can view and post in closed networks.

Email alerts

Any new item of content posted on a network generates an email alert to members. This includes documents and forum posts. Members can control alerts (content type and frequency) through their personal settings.

Typical uses of NHS Networks


Register with NHS Networks to get regular news, join discussions, vote in polls and connect to other people who share your interests. Find and join networks.

Existing networks and professional groups

Even if your network is already running, meets regularly and has its own website, NHS Networks may be able to provide a virtual dimension to your activities.

For example, the allied health professions use NHS Networks to support their national and regional networks.

Groups with a shared interest

Networks can be as large or as small as you like and based on professional interests or simply the fact that you happen to work in the NHS.

If you can find a network that reflects your interests, then start one of your own. It’s quick and easy to do and it doesn’t cost a penny.

Spokes – the NHS cycling network – is one of the best established of our communities.

Organisations with a need to form wider connections

Networks exist to provide connections across professional and organisational boundaries. Here are just a few examples of uses of NHS Networks by existing organisations.


  • Communication with member practices
  • Support patient engagement
  • Connect to other stakeholders in the local health economy
  • Share good practice or support redesign projects
  • Network with other CCGs

NHS England area teams

Connect with CCGs, primary care professionals
Run forums to get feedback and promote discussion about local issues
Share news and policy information
Advertise local events

Healthcare providers

  • Set up and run online patient representative groups
  • Promote feedback about local services
  • Share local news

Further training and support

NHS Networks is self-service and free to use for any individual, group or organisation but for any organisation requiring further training or support we provide the following options.

Package 1 
One of our team can give a presentation about NHS Networks, share examples of how others are using Networks successfully, demonstrate the service and explain how to set up and manage networks.  As part of this support we can also help you to set up your first network.

One to one training session for network administrators including training materials, network promotional support, technical support and access to our dedicated network support adviser for a period of three months following the session. Training can be given by phone or via a webinar. 

Costs: £425 (ex VAT and webinar costs)

Package 2 
One to one training session for network administrators including training materials, network promotional support, technical support and access to our dedicated network support adviser for a period of three months following the session. Training can be given by phone or via a webinar.

Costs: £350 (ex VAT and webinar costs)

We can also tailor a support package to your specific requirements. (Existing PCC customers may not have to pay.)  For more information contact maria.axford@networks.nhs.uk.