Migrating to HSCN: Advice for health and social care providers
HSCN will allow health and social care organisations to access and exchange electronic information.
The potential benefits of migrating to HSCN are;
- saving money
- helping staff work together
- reduced cost and complexity
- standardised networks
- to support information and services sharing
The HSCN migration process
Preparing to migrate to HSCN
We'll help N3 customers plan their migration. We'll talk to all NHS, National Application and Private sector (3rd party) organisations to understand their needs.
If you've not already done so, please ensure you nominate a point of contact for us to communicate with. You can do this by emailing us at email@example.com.
Consider what services you need to replace your existing N3 services. This includes connectivity services and 'overlay' products like video conferencing. You can speak to your Regional Migration Manager about this.
Overlay services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), video conferencing and remote access will be able to run over HSCN. Customers will be responsible for procuring their own overlay services through independent procurement routes. Any overlay services currently on N3 will need to be migrated at the same time or ahead of the N3 connection.
Think about how you want to buy HSCN services, and when.
Procuring HSCN connectivity
One of the first things you need to decide is how you wish to obtain HSCN connectivity services.
You'll be able to:
- arrange your own HSCN connectivity - we'll help you define and identify services in the HSCN marketplace
- join one of our centrally managed procurements - we'll include you within an aggregated procurement to get economies of scale
- get HSCN connectivity via an existing network service or regional network partnership
Health and care organisations will be able to source HSCN compliant services in a number of ways. Broadly these include:
Centrally Managed Aggregated Procurement - NHS Digital will be managing a series of aggregated procurements on behalf of health and care organisations that don't wish to, or are unable to, manage their own network procurement at this time.
Collaborative Self-Serve procurement - Organisations can design and manage the procurement of an HSCN compliant Wide Area Network (WAN), in collaboration with the organisations they interact with most frequently, in order to deliver health and social care services. They may choose to run such a procurement using an existing procurement framework such as Crown Commercial Services (CCS) framework RM1045 but this isn't mandatory.
Individual Self-Serve Procurement - Organisations can acquire HSCN connectivity for their own organisation only. They may choose to run such a procurement using an existing procurement framework such as Crown Commercial Services (CCS) framework RM1045 but this isn't mandatory.
Direct Award - Whilst we'll be actively encouraging health and social care organisations to run or join competitions in the HSCN marketplace, some organisations may be able to obtain HSCN compliant connectivity using an existing contract or by joining an existing regional network partnership.
You can find a guide to HSCN procurement options on the HSCN procurement options page. Here you'll find the contact details for your Regional Migration Managers; please contact them if you wish to discuss your options further.
Once you've decided please let your Regional Migration Manager know how you wish to proceed and they'll be able to support you appropriately.
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Increasingly detailed procurement and migration guidance will be made available online.
Details of how HSCN services could be obtained [924.24KB] were provided during the roadshows held in Autumn 2016.
We'll be starting our first set of centrally managed Aggregated Procurements during 2017 so please tell us if you'd like to obtain your HSCN connectivity via an Aggregated Procurement as soon as possible.
The central contract arrangements for N3 ceased on 31 March 2017 and from that date you're not able to extend or buy new N3 services. Your connectivity will continue to be supported through the Transition Network and full HSCN services will be available later in 2017.
NHS Digital will provide the guidance and advice you need to start planning your migration from N3 to HSCN and will help you migrate to HSCN connectivity services at the earliest opportunity.
HSCN will be delivered by multiple suppliers providing interoperable network services that adhere to an agreed set of standards. This means health and social care organisations are able to replace existing N3 connectivity services with HSCN services procured from a choice of suppliers within a competitive marketplace.
In order to obtain the HSCN Assurance Mark and start selling HSCN connectivity services, suppliers need to apply for and achieve HSCN compliance. The table below lists the suppliers that have applied for and achieved HSCN compliance to date. This will be updated regularly.
If you're interested in understanding more about the supplier compliance process visit the supplier section of the HSCN webpages.
This is the HSCN supplier assurance watermark.
HSCN supplier compliance status
|Supplier name||HSCN compliance|
|Convergence Group||HSCN compliant|
|MLL Telecom Ltd||HSCN compliant|
|BT||At compliance approval stage|
|Updata Infrastructure UK (Capita IT services)||At compliance approval stage|
|Virgin Media Business||At compliance approval stage|
|AdEPT Telecom||Compliance process underway|
|Exponential-e||Compliance process underway|
|Interoute Communications Ltd||Compliance process underway|
|IT Professional Services Ltd||Compliance process underway|
|Level 3||Compliance process underway|
|Node 4||Compliance process underway|
|NYnet||Compliance process underway|
|OCSL||Compliance process underway|
|Piksel||Compliance process underway|
|TNP||Compliance process underway|
Other suppliers are in the process of commencing HSCN compliance.
How to connect to HSCN
We'll simplify the process you have to go through before you can connect to an HSCN compliant network.
We have introduced an HSCN Connection Agreement. This has replaced the current N3 Information Governance Statement of Compliance (IGSoC) and separates the arrangements for getting a connection to the network from those relating to data access or use of services.
Improving cyber security
Patients, service users and staff have a right to expect that information about them is held securely. HSCN customers have a duty under the law to protect information. Increasingly, information is at risk from malicious activity, such as hacking and computer viruses (often called malware). Protecting information held on computers is called cyber security.
HSCN will help with cyber security. It will introduce Network Analytics to identify malicious activity on HSCN. It does this by looking at the source and destination of traffic, but not the content.
HSCN will include anti-malware and content filtering at the points where traffic leaves the HSCN for the internet. This will help identify malicious content and malware.
NHS Digital's CareCERT will contact HSCN customers about malicious activity and malware that HSCN identifies. The aim is to help resolve the cyber security incidents and where needed help the HSCN customer to prevent further incidents.
These measures will provide some security against malware and other malicious content. This will help to secure data, but they are not substitutes for good cyber security practices at HSCN customers.
The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and CareCERT will provide quality and accessible information about cyber good practice to HSCN customers. This will help reduce the likelihood of a cyber incident affecting HSCN customers in a way that is right for the individual HSCN customer. It will be an important part in helping everyone meet the patient, service user and staff expectation that information about them is safe.
The HSCN Connection Agreement sets out the things HSCN customers must do before and whilst using the HSCN.
The central contract arrangements for N3 ceased on 31 March 2017. You can obtain HSCN services through a number of different routes, and from a list of approved suppliers, all of which is described below.