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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
Customer journey
Supplier compliance and private sector procurement

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

Privaste sector organisations should aim to join HSCN within these timescales:

Complete your procurement of HSCN connectivity - no later than 30 November 2017

Work with NHS Digital to plan and execute migration to HSCN connectivity - no later than 31 March 2018

If you have concerns over your organisation's ability to migrate within the timeline please contact us 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 meet these timescales due to current contractual obligations, we encourage you to do everything within your power to adhere to this timeline.

Early adopters

NHS Digital are supporting the first batch of migrations to HSCN through the HSCN early adopters programme. 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 stage 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 stage customer journey

Stage 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 and all Stage 1 compliant suppliers are able to provide you with a quote for a connection now.

More details on HSCN compliance and what it means for your organisation can be found under supplier compliance and private sector procurement.

Stage 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.

Stage 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

Stage 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.

Stage 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.


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. 
  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. 

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

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