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Health and Social Care Network (HSCN)

The Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) provides a reliable, efficient and flexible way for health and care organisations to access and exchange electronic information.

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

Health and care providers are able to obtain network connectivity from multiple suppliers in a competitive market place and in collaboration with other health and social care organisations.

Organisation are already benefiting following migration to HSCN, through improved network and bandwidth capacity, financial savings and easier and smoother access to clinical systems. Watch HSCN users describe the benefits of migration in this short video.

Download a transcript of this video

HSCN is here.

The clock is ticking on N3.

HSCN is the new network for health and social care.

HSCN is vital to the delivery of digital health and care services.

All health and care organisations need to be connected to HSCN by August 2020.

HSCN is here. Migrate now to start benefiting.

The migration to the Health and Social Care Network has been an imperative part of making sure we have a good system, that's going to give us the infrastructure we need to deliver the digital service in as safe a way as possible.

We've seen that our speed has increased up to 10 times faster than before. This allows us to deliver high quality care and spend less time behind screens and more time with our service users.

Having access to HSCN enables us to grow our IT and technology andInnovation. We can become more available in our clinic locations and access some of the Spine services that are so critical to the care that we deliver, those services being e-referral, patient demographic service and the summary care record.

HSCN doesn't necessarily provide immediate clinical benefit but it provides a platform which enables services to be developed in rural areas that can be received by citizens who are ordinarily inaccessible to services.

Early adoption of HSCN has given us ten times more bandwidth at 20% less cost, much more reliable connectivity to our clinical systems and given us the capacity to share more information and the more information that our clinicians can share when they're discussing complex patients that gives them a better ability to provide better patient care.

The benefits of HSCN over N3 are very clear to see in that we were limited to one site with N3, now we have full coverage across our 60 locations and can access those systems a lot faster than we could previously.

Fibre to the premise connectivity with HSCN has given us a platform that we can build on in the future. Migration itself actually only took a couple of minutes and our staff didn't notice any disruption whatsoever.

User feedback has been, better smoother access to principal clinical systems by GPs across a rural North Yorkshire, which ultimately provides better quality patient care.

So we are mobile we are high speed and we make sure that there is no interruption in the care that we deliver and the Health and Social Care Network has been integral to making sure that that infrastructure is in place.

As you've seen colleagues up and down the country are already benefiting following migration to HSN through improved network and bandwidth capacity the financial savings associated with migrating to HSN and easier and smoother access to clinical systems.

N3 switches off in August 2020 and organisations must migrate to HSCN before that critical date.

At the end of the day service users and staff can reap the rewards of a good, high speed internet system NHS Digital are here to help you.

Visit our website for more information.

Accelerate your migration to HSCN today.

New developments

HSCN Remote Access Solutions

With the current increased demand for solutions enabling staff to work from remote locations, we have updated our guidance as well as developed new materials to help support the deployment of such technologies. The Materials include up to date commercial information, as well as technical guidance on the types of remote solutions, the use of split tunnelling and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) access.

Learn more about Remote Access Solutions and technical guidance.

Advanced Network Monitoring – transition of service

Introducing NHS Secure Boundary

The HSCN Advanced Network Monitoring (ANM) service has protected HSCN internet traffic since go-live of HSCN services in 2017. The contract for the ANM service is due to end within the next few months and HSCN CNSPs have been asked to connect to NHS Digital’s new solution, ‘NHS Secure Boundary’ in order to maintain and enhance protection.

NHS Secure Boundary provides a security solution which offers protection against the most sophisticated network security threats for NHS organisations. This solution is part of a larger programme of work being delivered by NHS Digital’s Data Security Centre (DSC) to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of patient data, as well as protecting clinical and business systems from emerging threats.

HSCN CNSPs are working to connect to NHS Secure Boundary by 30 June 2020.

See the NHS Secure Boundary webpages for more information.

NHS DNS service refresh

NHS Digital will migrate the DNS service from the Transition Network this year. All organisations using the existing DNS service must reconfigure their service to use the new NHS Digital RIPE IP addresses as soon as possible. Read the HSCN/Transition Network DNS guidance for more information.

The HSCN Internet Access Form

The HSCN Internet Access Form has replaced the Data Security Centre (DSC) HSCN ANME Firewall Change Request Form. The form can be used if your CNSP has advised you are trying to access something that has been placed on the deny list, the port you are trying to access is not an allowed any/any port or you had access to a site on the Transition Network (previously N3) however you do not have the same access on HSCN. 

Read more on the HSCN technical guidance and forms page.

How HSCN supports Internet First policy and the shift to internet and public cloud based services

HSCN connectivity is the default standard for internet connectivity in the health and social care sector, supporting the Internet First policy of easy access to digital health and care services and improving interoperability between them. Read more about how health systems and applications are being made accessible over the internet on our news and events page

Connecting to HSCN

The HSCN Buying Guide

The HSCN Buying Guide provides useful information to new and existing customers considering buying a HSCN connection.

The new dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for HSCN Access Services, RM3825, is live for customers. Crown Commercial Service (CCS) have also published HSCN procurement templates and guidance on their website.

RM3825 is recommended by NHS Digital as the most efficient route to market for HSCN procurement and we're expecting all HSCN compliant suppliers to join the DPS. 

The HSCN Migration Checklist

The HSCN Migration Checklist  provides details of the actions you'll need to take at each stage of your migration to HSCN from the Transition Network.

Business applications guidance

Any N3 contacted voice and/or video business applications currently running on the Transition Network at customer sites need to be replaced prior to the migration of the network to HSCN. Read the NHS Digital guidance on procuring replacement services for further detail

Other useful HSCN documents, forms and guidance can be found on the Technical Guidance and supplier documentation pages.

Sign the HSCN connection agreement

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

Contacting HSCN

General HSCN enquiries - email
Media enquiries - contact our press office on 0300 303 3888 or email
N3 enquiries - legacy N3 customers can contact the BT helpdesk on 0800 085 0503 (select option 3) for information about existing network services.

Further information

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    HSCN consumer handbook: contents

    This consumer handbook provides a guide to the services available from HSCN service providers. It includes advice on some of the procedures for managing and maintaining live HSCN services.  

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    New to HSCN

    The Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) is a new data network for health and care organisations, replacing N3.

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    HSCN customer journey

    The N3 contract for wide area data network services in the NHS ended as planned on 31 March 2017. You can obtain HSCN connectivity through a number of different routes from a list of approved suppliers.

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    HSCN supplier information

    The Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) is a secure way for health and social care organisations to share information. Some elements of HSCN are delivered centrally by NHS Digital or its partners, and others can be supplied by any organisation which can demonstrate that they comply with the standards.

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    HSCN technical guidance

    Guidance, policy and best practice documents covering all technical aspects of HSCN. Documents on this page will be regularly reviewed and updated by NHS Digital as required.

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    HSCN case studies

    Case studies from users of the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), the data network for health and care organisations.

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    HSCN: an introduction for social care organisations

    Social care organisations should consider obtaining HSCN connectivity in order to improve their ability to access and share information and services reliably, and benefit from security-enhanced internet connectivity.

Last edited: 13 October 2020 1:58 pm