Guilty by association
As part of the original EDS team promoting NHS Email (& Directory Services) I am not surprised by the lack of take up.
It was clear early on that there was significant resistance within the NHS Trusts (usually at IT Manager/Director Level), they had their own systems and didn't want to relinquish any control over their users. In such an organisation without management buy-in it was diificult to promote the service. Some trusts even blocked the .nhs.net domain at their firewalls.
The secure aspect of the service was overlooked by many trusts ... especially those who turned a blind eye to transfer of patient data via unsecure means (eg. Yahoo Mail).
A Outlook Web Access service was on offer but not promoted as it was significantly more expensive than the Sun WebMail solution (pre MS agreement). Understandably Exchange users did not want to lose any functionality.
NHS Email was consequently only useful to NHS Staff who were mobile (between trusts),those without an existing email account and those wishing to use an approved secure service.
Some trusts saw the benefits and migrated users to the new service ... but these were few and far between.
There were many reasons why the NHS Email & Directory Servces contact was taken away from EDS (Including the duplication of Directory Services and lack of alignment between NHSIA and the newly formed NPfIT).
Most of the problems associated with NHS Email where not specific to EDS and therefore it comes as no surprise that a different service provider encounters a similar set of problems resulting in poor take up.
(Posted anonymously due to my continuing proximity to one or more of the organisations involved.)