NHS Digital has completed the largest known public sector data network transition programme, saving the NHS an estimated £75m a year and providing organisations with faster connectivity at a reduced cost.
Approximately 12,000 sites belonging to 950 NHS, social care, private sector and local authority organisations have moved from the legacy N3 network to the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), giving them great value, highly reliable connectivity with improved security capabilities.
Organisations can now pick from a marketplace of 21 different suppliers, who compete to provide standardised network services. This enables organisations to obtain the public internet and private network connectivity services they need over a single connection at highly competitive prices.
The value for money generated by the new HSCN marketplace has enabled many organisations to significantly upgrade their connectivity in order to adopt more digital and cloud-based services, cope with rising levels of online activity, support their COVID-19 response and ultimately realise their digital ambitions.
Patrick Clark, HSCN Programme Director at NHS Digital said: ‘This is a hugely significant achievement both in terms of the scale and the benefit of what has been delivered. Reforming long-standing services in order to promote real choice, competition, innovation and value for money is always difficult, but the HSCN initiative demonstrates what can be achieved when you work collaboratively across the health and care system, and industry.
‘The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how important it is to underpin online, digital services with the right connectivity and I’m delighted that the HSCN initiative has enabled so many organisations to upgrade and future-proof their connectivity services affordably – in many cases obtaining far greater bandwidth for less money.
‘Good connectivity is vital for healthcare practitioners, supporting them with faster, more reliable access to the information and services they need when they need it. HSCN now provides organisations with the ideal way to obtain the best connectivity for their staff at the best price.’
Dan Parry, HSCN Lead Migration Programme Manager at NHS Digital said: ‘The completion of the HSCN migration and legacy network termination ahead of schedule and within budget is an incredible achievement, given the project’s size and complexity.
‘A great success is seeing the number of local NHS organisations benefiting from significant savings as a result of the HSCN marketplace whilst still being able to upgrade their capacity to fibre-based products. This will enable them to make better use of digital tools not only during the pandemic but as part of their longer-term digital ambitions.
‘This has been a mammoth task and as we switch the lights off on the legacy network and bring HSCN migration activity to a close, I look forward to supporting the development of the next-generation network connectivity so that health and care sector organisations continue to fulfil their digital ambitions.’