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Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

This case study demonstrates the benefits of adopting HSCN services for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).


By migrating to a HSCN network solution NSFT achieved:

  • increased network capacity and resilience
  • greater collaboration across their estate


Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) provides a broad range of health and social care services and are dedicated to providing specialist mental health care. They have large inpatient facilities across Norfolk and Suffolk as well as a number of smaller bases in more rural locations. Many of the services NSFT provide are community-based.

NSFT has strong links with health and care organisations across the region and collaborate at a clinical level with charities, voluntary and community providers of clinical services. They also have partnerships with the University of East Anglia for clinical training, providing research facilities and clinical support.

NSFT has one of the largest geographical footprints in the United Kingdom. They employ 3,600 staff at over 50 sites across two counties.

The network solution

NSFT decided they needed to review their existing network services, due to the geographical spread of the trust’s sites and their ever-increasing demand for both corporate and internet-based network access. They identified the following needs:

  1. To improve performance on the network serving the Suffolk region
  2. To replace an outdated and expensive BT wide-area network (WAN) serving the Norfolk region

To resolve these issues, NSFT was keen to understand the opportunities offered by adopting HSCN.

Following a competitive procurement process NSFT chose MLL Telecom as its HSCN network solution supplier. A HSCN compliant supplier, MLL Telecom has significant experience unbundling exchanges in the region as well as a significant presence in the local council network infrastructure. Suffolk County Council and Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG also procured HSCN services from MLL Telecom; allowing for a shared access connection and infrastructure in the future.

Through the adoption of HSCN NSFT have benefited from a unified network solution; creating greater capacity, improved performance and additional resilience.

The benefits of moving to HSCN

Through its migration to a HSCN network solution, NSFT has reported several benefits. 

  1. By reducing their infrastructure and equipment costs, NSFT are able to spend more money on improving their network services, allowing them to buy new hardware or software when required.
  2. The increase in bandwidth from 10MB to 100MB at some sites removed performance bottlenecks. This led to a reduction in latency which allowed NSFT to utilise clinical systems more effectively.
  3. The additional capacity has enabled NSFT to use Skype for Business to deliver executive broadcasts. This new capability allows NSFT to engage with staff based across multiple sites across the region in a cost-effective manner.
  4. By migrating to a lower cost and higher capacity HSCN connectivity, NSFT was able to significantly reduce the cost of their network and internet access, allowing them to use the money saved to improve patient care.
  5. Through balancing access throughout the network and providing two-point access to the internet NSFT reduced the need for additional capacity at their data centres. This means that end-users at NSFT now benefit from faster access to the internet.
  6. By developing an up-to-date core network NSFT have paved the way for further infrastructure development, for example running public Wi-Fi through a centrally managed solution.

“The deployment of the health and social care network across Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has helped remove bottlenecks and single points of failure. It’s also enabled ICT to expand its service catalogue to clinicians and freed up ICT resources to support them in their day-to-day work with service users.”

Greg Sayer, Infrastructure Architect

By adopting a HSCN network solution, NSFT has been able to improve patient care. The clinical benefits reported include:

  1. Improved access to clinical information. After their migration to HSCN, NSFT witnessed an increase in network speed and an almost 300% increase in network usage at some sites. Clinically, this increase in network speed has enabled a greater number of users to simultaneously access, update and share clinical information.
  2. NSFT plans to use the improved network capability to improve access to clinical care by using digital consultations. By improving access to these services, and by providing patients with a greater choice of how to interact with the service providers, NSFT aim to improve health outcomes for patients. 
  3. NSFT observed that staff accessing LORENZO (clinical Patient Administration System) have been able to access clinical information faster. This improvement in user experience has been attributed to increased bandwidth, lower latency and minimal lag.
  4. NSFT has been assured to maintain the Electronic Referral Service (ERS) standards because of their enhanced network capabilities and resilience.
  5. New faster, more responsive and more resilient network capabilities have enabled clinical staff to utilise portable devices and mobile technology to involve patients and carers in developing their care plans.
  6. NSFT is confident it will be able to deliver further clinical benefits from the ongoing programme of Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration due to its enhanced network capabilities.
  7. In migrating to HSCN NSFT chose to implement a secondary circuit. This has increased confidence in their ability to access the systems and services necessary to provide uninterrupted clinical care; even during incidents where the primary circuit is unavailable.
  8. NSFT have improved confidence in their ongoing data warehouse project which aims provide clinicians with up-to-date information from various integrated systems because of their migration to HSCN.

"Since the deployment of the HSCN at St Catherine’s, staff have reported improvements in the connection time and stability when accessing the trust’s electronic patient record. Saving and retrieving centrally stored documents is much improved as is printing, which was an issue. There has been a reduction in network drop outs and generally the network appears more stable; total network loss has not occurred since deployment."

Craig Olley, Community Team Leader 

Last edited: 7 March 2019 1:56 pm