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Private sector organisations: migration advice

Support and guidance for private sector organisations migrating from the Transition Network to HSCN.

Timeline for HSCN migration
Obtaining pricing for HSCN connectivity - advice for private sector organisations

Suppliers ready to quote for HSCN connectivity
The HSCN Quote Form
Early adopters

Customer journey

Step 1 - contact suppliers
Step 2 - procure
Step 3 - complete a Connection Agreement
Step 4 - migrate
Step 5 - cease your N3 circuit

The Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) is a new data network for health and care organisations that has replaced NHS N3. It provides the underlying network arrangements to help integrate and transform health and social care services, and it enables health and social care organisations to access and share information more reliably, flexibly and efficiently.

Timeline for HSCN migration

HSCN is now live and you can procure HSCN connectivity from HSCN compliant suppliers.

To take advantage of the cost savings and associated benefits of moving from legacy infrastructure private sector organisations are encouraged to migrate to HSCN at their earliest opportunity.

Service continuity will be ensured by the Transition Network, and HSCN has been designed such that all organisations, migrated or not, will remain interconnected during the migration period. Based on market data it's anticipated that there should be a significant cost reduction for like-for-like HSCN connectivity services. It should be noted that this is based on 'like for like' comparison and that, in reality, advances in technology should allow many consumers to procure a leaner, cheaper alternative.

If you have concerns over your organisation's ability to migratein the near future please contact NHS Digital as soon as possible to advise of this and to discuss any constraints you may have.

Whilst we understand that some organisations may not be able to migrate immediately due to current contractual obligations, we encourage you to do everything within your power to migrate at your earliest possible opportunity.

Obtaining pricing for HSCN connectivity - advice for private sector organisations

Private sector organisations currently connected to the HSCN Transition Network (formally N3) are strongly encouraged to purchase and migrate to replacement HSCN connectivity at the earliest opportunity.

Doing so will:

  • deliver significant cost savings in comparison to existing N3 services - organisations who have already procured HSCN connectivity to replace existing N3 services are reporting significant savings within a range of 30-60%
  • avoid any disruption to service as NHS Digital start to close down the N3 legacy infrastructure over the coming months

HSCN connectivity is available now from a choice of suppliers in the open market. So whilst there are a variety of ways that organisations can procure HSCN services, including an HSCN specific dynamic purchasing system managed by the Crown Commercial Service (known as RM3825 which will be available to use from late November), private sector organisations can simply contact HSCN compliant suppliers and ask them to quote to provide HSCN connectivity.

Suppliers ready to quote for HSCN connectivity

There are currently 17 network suppliers who have achieved HSCN compliance. This means they are permitted to market and sell HSCN connectivity. However, at this stage not all of them have demonstrated an ability to clearly quote for HSCN connectivity services.

The HSCN Quote Form

Whilst not essential, we advise that organisations use the icon HSCN Quote Form [62.5KB]  when asking suppliers to provide pricing so the responses they get back are in a consistent format and easy to compare. This form has been socialised with suppliers already and a list of suppliers able and willing to respond using this form is provided in the table below. 

HSCN_Kitemark_Compliant_Version

HSCN SupplierContact details for pricing enquiries
Adept Telecomhscn@adept-telecom.co.uk
BTbt.hscn@bt.com
Convergence Grouphscn@convergencegroup.co.uk
Exponential-epsbids@exponential-e.com
Level 3psn@level3.com
MLL Telecomhscn@mlltelecom.com
Node4sales@node4.co.uk
Nynetenquiries@nynet.co.uk
OCSLInfo@ocsl.co.uk
Piksel (Carelink)Sales-carelink@piksel.com
Redcentrichscn@redcentricplc.com
TNPhscn@tnp.net.uk
Virgin Mediahttps://forms.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/contact-us/sales/

Early adopters

NHS Digital are supporting the first batch of migrations to HSCN through the HSCN early adopters programme, working closely with Convergence Group, MLL Telecom Ltd and Redcentric to provide connectivity for HSCN early adopter organisations.

We will provide support and guidance to help organisations arrange for their migration to HSCN during 2017.

If you're a private sector organisation with a single HSCN connection who would be interested in becoming an early adopter please contact us at enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk.


Customer journey

To support private sector organisations in their migration to HSCN we've created a 5 step customer journey. 

The stages below are applicable whether you're an existing Transition Network customer who needs to migrate or a new customer looking to join HSCN.

5 step customer journey

Step 1 - contact suppliers

HSCN connectivity is supplied via a marketplace of compliant suppliers (called Consumer Network Service Providers or CN-SPs); you can find details of which suppliers have achieved compliance, and an explanation of the HSCN compliance process on the HSCN Suppliers page. All suppliers can supply nationally to any organisation type. For details of which suppliers can provide quotes now see Obtaining pricing for HSCN connectivity - advice for private sector organisations.

Step 2 - procure

To procure your HSCN connection we strongly advise you to contact several compliant CN-SPs in order to obtain a competitive quote. All listed suppliers are able to supply connections nationally.

Supplier compliance and private sector organisation procurements

NHS Digital wants private sector organisations to acquire HSCN connectivity as soon as possible.

Private sector organisations wanting to obtain relatively simple HSCN connectivity in place of their existing N3 connectivity should seek to engage stage 1 compliant suppliers for prices/quotes now. 

Suppliers do not need to be to be stage 2 compliant in order to quote. You can find details of HSCN compliant suppliers on the HSCN Suppliers page.

Although the majority of stage 1 compliant suppliers are progressing their stage 2 compliance now, achieving stage 2 compliance will happen gradually between now and January 2018. Therefore, having sought quotes from suppliers, private sector organisations should consider the following options:

  1. Award HSCN business to a stage 1 compliant supplier on the basis that they can achieve stage 2 compliance within a defined and contractually bound timeframe.
  2. Award HSCN business to stage 2 compliant suppliers only, accepting that this may temporarily limit the pool of suppliers they can enter into a contract with with. 
  3. Obtain and evaluate stage 1 compliant supplier quotes and propositions/plans for obtaining stage 2 compliance in a timely manner, choose a preferred supplier but then postpone awarding HSCN business to them until they achieve stage 2 compliance. 

In all cases private sector organisations should understand their connectivity requirements and progress with engaging stage 1 compliant suppliers in order to obtain quotes for HSCN connectivity. 

Step 3 - complete a Connection Agreement

The HSCN Connection Agreement sets out the things HSCN customers must do before and whilst using HSCN.

The Connection Agreement replaces the N3 Information Governance Statement of Compliance (IGSoC). In doing this, the arrangements for using HSCN are separated from those relating to accessing data or systems available on HSCN.

Every organisation that wishes to use HSCN must complete a Connection Agreement. By "use HSCN", we mean 'sending or receiving data across HSCN'.

The HSCN Connection Agreement is organisation-centric. Each organisation needs to sign and submit only one Connection Agreement no matter how many locations or HSCN connections they have or use.

Transition Network customers

An invitation to complete the HSCN Connection Agreement will have been sent to your organisations' nominated HSCN point of contact from NHS Digital. The email invitation includes instructions on how to register an account and submit a Connection Agreement using the online portal.

To request a Connection Agreement invite reminder please email enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk confirming the contact email of the individual responsible for completing the Connection Agreement.

A current Information Governance Toolkit (IGT) is no longer a prerequisite for obtaining an HSCN connection. However, all organisations that handle patient data are still required to achieve IGToolkit compliance and to provide evidence for this through an annual submission. This means that a current IGT is still required to access NHS Digital's National Applications such as NHS e-Referral Service (ERS), Personal Demographics Service (PDS) and Secondary Uses Service (SUS).
To find out more about the HSCN Connection Agreement and Information Governance requirements under HSCN visit the Connecting to HSCN page

Step 4 - migrate

Once your procurement is complete you'll need to work with your supplier to co-ordinate the delivery and migration of your new HSCN services. Across the country, HSCN suppliers will be working with the NHS Digital HSCN Deployment Office to co-ordinate the overall migration from the Transition Network.

Migration involves cutting-over from existing legacy connectivity to the new HSCN service shortly after the replacement service is commissioned. Migration activities will vary dependent on the circumstances but for a new replacement service will typically involve:

  1. A go/no-go decision - a decision point with the appropriate stakeholders to confirm the new service is live and all parties ready to proceed with migration. 
  2. Pre-migration tests - a set of checks to confirm access to production applications is available before the start of migration. 
  3. Network changes - a set of activities to cutover to the new service.  
  4. Post-migration tests - a set of checks to confirm the network change has been completed successfully and access to production applications is available.  
  5. Go/no-go point - in the event that the post-migration tests have identified an issue, there should be a planned decision point to agree whether to roll-back or attempt to investigate and resolve the issue. In the event of rollback, the migration will need to be rescheduled.  
  6. Regression testing - depending on the customer organization, additional IT infrastructure and business application tests may be performed to provide assurance that these are unaffected by the network change.  
  7. Migration complete - once all tests are satisfactorily complete, the customer should sign-off the migration complete with the parties involved.

Both the implementation and migration activities should adhere to your normal change management governance and procedures. Depending on your type of connection and the complexity of your migration some of the steps outlined may not be required for your organisation. Your chosen supplier will have the knowledge required to support and assist you with the migration process.

IP address migration

Please see the HSCN IP addressing policy and the HSCN IP addressing good practice guidelines for details on migrating your IP address range to HSCN. 

Step 5 - cease your N3 circuit

You'll be responsible for ceasing your legacy Transition Network services once you're satisfied that you've successfully migrated to new services or they are no longer required. This should follow the normal termination process, as per the pre-existing contract. In summary, this will include:

  • issuing a cease notice to BT
  • organising the collection and/or disposal of legacy network equipment if required - note that configurations should be wiped by BT during the migration process and consumers can choose the best alternative for disposal of obsolete equipment

Upon receipt of the termination notice, BT will perform the decommissioning of any legacy equipment that is required and provide a decommissioning report. 

Have a question? Call us on 0300 303 5678 or contact enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk.

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