How the NHS communicates with patients

So what do you think when you get an email like this?

From: []

Dear Patient,
We are writing to let you know that at 1pm on 7th June 2017 Bury Knowle Health Centre, Barton, Wood Farm Health Centre and Marston Medical Centre will be changing it’s name to ?Hedena Health?.  We will also have a new telephone number which is 01865 227788.  Please change this number in your diary or phone. This will enable us to get you through to the right person much more quickly and with less hanging on.  Finally we will have a new website at  There is a lot that you will be able to do through our website which previously you would have to have telephone for, so please take a few minutes to browse.

Kind regards,
Fiona Jefferies, Patient Services and HR Manager, Hedena Health

Well for me the first thing is it is spam email or phishing email and to delete it. There are serious warning signs in the email.

Firstly, the email address it is from is just plain weird, any credible organisation would send emails from a server that uses their brand as a suffix. This one is just a series of random number and letters.

Secondly, the email is addressed to Dear “Patient”, not personalised. Do not forget this is purporting to come from the surgery who hold my medical records, you would hope they know my name.

Thirdly, I do not believe that the new “super surgery” will have question marks before and after its name as this email suggests.

Finally there is a very convenient link to their website, how very kind of them.

All of these four points are red flags to the email being junk, spam or phishing. Yet because it was my surgery, I was still intrigued in case it was genuine.

Rather than follow their link I typed the address into my browser and found the following.

My concerns seem justified and well founded, but it would be worthwhile checking the surgery’s own website. This was a revelation, as this confirmed the change in surgery name and rebranding.

So it turns out everything was alright and the email appears to be genuine. However other questions are now raised. The obvious one from the change of name is this a new private organisation, designed to make a profit from the NHS? Until more is know about Hedena Health there is no answer to this.

But what I can glean, is that this email has all the hallmarks of phishing and many users rightly would bin it unopened. After the recent cyber attack on the NHS, you would hope that the NHS would take care not of the data to protect it, but also to ensure that any communications are free from errors and clearly evidence who they are from. After all this rebranding will be involving NHS resources to a greater or lesser extent. But forgetting the cost, surely the ability to ensure the information conveyed is error free is not too much to ask. After all if an email is error ridden, what are the chances of the patient records being accurate? I am sure they are but the nagging doubt remains.