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Better Connectivity for Health and Care (BC4HC)

The Better Connectivity for Health and Care (BC4CH) programme at NHS Digital has been commissioned by NHSX to help NHS organisations access gigabit broadband capable connectivity.

Health and care organisations continue to adopt, deploy and rely on more sophisticated digital services. It is critical to ensure the right underlying network infrastructure and broadband connectivity is in place to support the growing demand for bandwidth and reliable connectivity especially in those locations which are hard to reach.

Working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport's (DCMS) Project Gigabit and the telecommunications industry, we are leading on a 4 year programme of work to provide the NHS with the capability it needs to deliver its challenging digital ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Better Connectivity for Health and Care programme will support NHS primary and secondary care sectors as well as care homes including:

  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)
  • Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) as they are formed
  • GPs
  • acute hospitals
  • mental health
  • community health
  • ambulance
  • care homes 

Benefits

This programme will enable further digital transformation across health and care by supporting broadband connectivity with speeds up to one gigabit per second and more.

It will support GPs and other health and care professionals to take advantage of new systems and digital initiatives being developed across the health landscape which rely on the need for faster, more reliable broadband connectivity. There's a particular focus on removing inhibiting connectivity that is more common in rural areas.

By continuing to improve broadband connectivity we will also enable a greater use of new digital services including remote consultations and virtual patient observation tools which require faster broadband speeds to run smoothly.

These changes have the potential to reduce the need for patient travel and potentially a reduction of Did Not Attend (DNAs), as well as enabling speedier diagnosis.


Project ADSL and Poor FFTC - Level-up

Our first project, ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) and FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) for Health, has been set up to address the issues presented by the poorest broadband connectivity within the NHS.  

In the short-term, whilst the majority of NHS premises already have superfast broadband (FTTC) connectivity or better, there remains a significant number of sites that are still reliant on ADSL or poor FTTC (less than 30Mbps) broadband connectivity, which is likely to prohibit the delivery of digital services. 

Funding opportunity for CCGs and Trusts to improve broadband connectivity

We are:

  • making support and funding available to NHS organisations, both CCGs and Trusts, whose broadband connectivity is still reliant on ADSL or poor FTTC
  • working with integrated care system digital leads as well as the care organisations within those systems to make them aware of the process through which funding can be applied for

Expression of interest

To be considered for support and funding, you will need to complete an expression of interest form. Please email the team to request a form: bc4hc@nhs.net   

As part of the process you will also need to complete an application form and provide quotes from your preferred supplier.

Deadline for applications

Applications must be submitted to NHS Digital by 1 October 2021.

Last edited: 9 September 2021 3:15 pm