HSCN is the ideal underlying network connectivity because:
- it provides both internet and private network connectivity via a single connection
- services are available from a competitive marketplace of 20 HSCN compliant suppliers providing demonstrably best value for money connectivity - their pricing is in line with or cheaper than the equivalent non-HSCN commercial grade internet or private network connectivity
- HSCN provides additional security and service management features at no extra cost.
We encourage health and care organisations to obtain appropriately sized connectivity with levels of resilience they need for the services they consume on the Internet, as well as private connectivity from an HSCN compliant supplier. This will ensure they are increasingly able to access systems and services over the internet as those systems move from being delivered over a private network to being delivered the internet and public cloud.
Initially organisations may have a HSCN connection with 70% of its bandwidth allocated to HSCN private access and 30% to the internet. As services like NHSmail switch to exclusive internet access instead of the private network it is likely this will switch to 70% internet and 30% to the private network traffic, which can easily be accommodated by your HSCN provider.
HSCN procurement and migration milestones
With the conclusion of NHS Digital led Aggregated Procurement activity in the South West, South East, London and North East regions of England, along with a number of major customer led activities, well over 50% of current Transition Network (legacy N3) users have now completed their procurement activity and awarded contracts for HSCN connectivity.
Not only has the level of competition for these procurements delivered impressive like-for-like savings but the variety of successful suppliers, with 9 of the 25 suppliers having won HSCN business to date, is confirmation that the HSCN marketplace is working, an encouraging sign both for NHS Digital and industry, who have worked closely with us to design and implement the HSCN compliance model.
July 2018 also marked the 100th connection to HSCN with 44 of those having taken place in June, showing that take up is really beginning to accelerate. The HSCN programme are currently engaging both the incumbent supplier and the HSCN compliant connectivity suppliers to ensure that everything is in place to support the upcoming ramp up of connections to HSCN.
The focus of the HSCN Programme team is now moving towards supporting customers and suppliers to turn these contract signatures into orders and planned migrations, working with both groups to plan and implement migrations, including an updated migration checklist and guidance on replacing N3 overlays to ensure that the cost savings from HSCN connectivity and the closedown of legacy infrastructure can be realised as soon as possible.
NHS Digital awards HSCN contract following competitive procurement
NHS Digital has awarded its own Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) contract to BT following a successful open procurement process using the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS).
The contract will yield a 70% cost saving for improved internet connectivity to support increased adoption of Cloud-based services, as well as cost effective private network connectivity to support access to existing systems.
All organisations need to move to the HSCN and savings can be achieved across the sector. Trusts, hospices, general practices, local councils and others involved in the provision of health and care are encouraged to conclude their own HSCN procurements, and start migrating to better, faster and cheaper network services.
The DPS, created in collaboration with the Crown Commercial Service, provides a simple and effective way for health and care organisations to access better value services from a choice of pre-approved suppliers – the competitive marketplace at the heart of the HSCN vision.
NHS Digital’s HSCN connectivity will support critical national applications and services such as the Spine, Electronic Referrals and the Secondary Use Service (SUS+), as well as services accessible over the internet.
NHS Digital will begin migrating sites and services to HSCN from July 2018 and will be working closely with BT to ensure service continuity is retained.
Dermot Ryan, HSCN Programme Director at NHS Digital, said:
“The HSCN is a key landing point in achieving the vision of making digital health and social care services ubiquitously available over the internet. In providing both public and private connectivity over one connection it will support organisations to move to a cloud-based architecture.
“It will also help mitigate information security risks through some of its inbuilt cybersecurity capabilities, whilst also providing highly performant access to the critical services upon which health and care relies that are not currently available on the internet.
“Given NHS Digital’s role in catalysing the migration of the health and social care system to HSCN it is important for us to lead by example and get out of the blocks quickly with a competitive procurement for our own requirements.
“I am really pleased that in doing this we have clearly demonstrated the benefits of an open, competitive market.”
NHS Digital launches first wave of Aggregated Procurements
NHS Digital, in partnership with Crown Commercial Service (CCS) have launched the first wave of Aggregated Procurements (APs) using the dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for HSCN Access Services, RM3825.
NHS Digital led aggregate procurements covering the South West, London, the North East and the South East have already launched, and are moving towards award. Other regional APs are due to launch throughout 2018.
These APs are designed to help organisations in procuring good value HSCN services as efficiently as possible using the DPS. RM3825 allows organisations involved in an AP, or running their own procurement activity, to compare prices from different suppliers and look at a range of HSCN packages to find the one that best suits their needs.
Currently 16 suppliers are active on the DPS and can submit bids to provide HSCN to organisations. NHS Digital expect all HSCN compliant suppliers to register on the DPS.
Other ongoing procurement activities
We've maintained close engagement with all health and care organisations through our field force teams and are confident that the vast majority have well progressed HSCN procurement plans.
While some are opting for the NHS Digital managed APs, others are progressing as part of regional collaborative initiatives or as individual, locally managed procurements.
Two-thirds of health and care organisations have already launched their HSCN procurement, with this increasing to over three-quarters by the end of June 2018. Additionally, over 15%, rising to over half by June 2018, have already awarded contracts to suppliers and are ready to call off services and make the next steps towards their HSCN migration.
CCS Launches new HSCN Access Services dynamic purchasing system (RM3825)
27 November 2017
NHS Digital are pleased to announce that the new dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for HSCN Access Services, RM3825, went live for customers on Friday 24th November.
CCS and NHS Digital worked together to develop an innovative and simplified DPS for the provision of HSCN connectivity and we're expecting all HSCN compliant suppliers to join the DPS. RM3825 is recommended by NHS Digital as the most efficient route to market for HSCN procurement and will be used for all HSCN aggregated procurements.
See below for the CCS announcement of the DPS go live, and visit the CCS website for more information.
HSCN DPS goes live
CCS is delighted to announce the launch of a new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) agreement in conjunction with NHS Digital, and Innopsis.
HSCN enables health professionals from NHS trusts, hospitals, GPs, social care organisations and non-public sector bodies to communicate and share information, delivering efficient, effective public services that meet the needs of citizens.
The new agreement will help health and social care organisations transform their network access from a single network to a vibrant and competitive multi supplier network, that will generate significant cost savings for health and social care consumers.
This competitive marketplace is enabled by a dynamic purchasing system (DPS) tailored to HSCN requirements, initially with 9 suppliers, including SME's. This is expected to increase over the coming months as and when suppliers become HSCN compliant, ensuring offerings remain competitive and innovative.
HSCN specific terms and conditions which are pre-agreed with industry will reduce existing procurement timescales, saving time and money drafting and negotiating bespoke documentation. The standardised documentation also enables HSCN consumers to generate great savings compared to their current arrangements.
Dermot Ryan, NHS Digital's HSCN Programme Director says:
'Creating a competitive market for network services in health and social care, to drive both product innovation and value for money, has been an ambition of the HSCN programme since the outset. Working in partnership with Crown Commercial Service, the establishment of the HSCN dynamic purchasing system is a significant part of realising this ambition. The DPS will promote the formation of a thriving market in HSCN services and provide health and social care customers with an easy to use, low risk way of procuring compliant services.'
For more information on our new DPS, the latest supplier list and guidance, visit our website, see our previous blog Are you ready for HSCN?, or contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) successfully launches with first live customer
26 October 2017
The first customer has connected to the Health and Social Care Network, which allows health and care organisations to work better together to provide improved care for patients.
Crescendo Systems Limited, a third party digital dictation and clinical records management systems firm, became the first organisation to gain access to the Health and Social Care Network, on 19 October.
HSCN, which has been designed and built by NHS Digital in partnership with suppliers and customers, is the successor to the N3 network and will connect the health and social care system through a highly reliable private network and security enhanced internet from a choice of suppliers.
It provides a reliable, efficient, economic and flexible way for health and social care organisations to access and exchange patient records and other electronic information.
Crescendo's connection has been supplied by MLL Telecom, one of 15 suppliers who have already achieved HSCN compliance. There will be a gradual increase in organisations migrating from N3 to HSCN over the coming months, enabling all organisations to benefit from moving to HSCN by August 2020.
The first NHS organisations are expecting to go live with HSCN this winter and include Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Devon Doctors.
HSCN was tested at a number of NHS pilot sites over a three-month period before going live. NHS applications such as the Spine portal, Summary Care Records, Lorenzo, eReferrals and Electronic Prescription Service were all successfully tested.
A number of organisations have already launched procurements to obtain HSCN connectivity and the response from the telecommunications market has been extremely positive both in terms of amount of competition and value for money. All organisations previously connected to N3 are progressing plans to procure and start migration to HSCN over the next 12 months.
Tom Denwood, Senior Responsible Owner for the HSCN Programme at NHS Digital, said: "HSCN represents a fantastic opportunity for health and social care integration right across the sector and will allow organisations to collaborate together more closely which will have a huge benefit for citizen care.
"It is a brilliant example of new technology meeting the demands of a modern and forward-thinking NHS.
"The successful launch sends out the message that HSCN is now open for business and there are so many great benefits that organisations can take advantage of by signing up for the service."
Dermot Ryan, Director of the HSCN Programme at NHS Digital, said: "The first connection to the new Health and Social Care Network is a critical milestone in the journey towards patient-centred care. Fundamental to this success has been the excellent collaboration between the telecoms industry, customers and NHS Digital.
"We now look forward to more organisations taking advantage of the innovation, cost savings and enhanced security capabilities of the network and to creating a thriving market for network services in health and social care.
Ian Wilcox, MLL's Health Sector Business Development Director, said "The first live HSCN connection is the culmination of a well-run programme and should be seen as an exemplar for public/private sector engagement.
"The approach has enabled NHS Digital's clear objectives to be realised through an open dialogue, achieving a framework that does not create an insurmountable barrier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to compete alongside the large telecoms firms for HSCN services, supporting the Government's policy of increasing SME involvement in public sector contracts."
Confirmation of funding for HSCN connectivity
13 June 2017
We've sent confirmation of the funding levels available for NHS organisations during June 2017. More information on HSCN funding allocations can be found on the Connectivity funding page.
Health and Social Care Network awards Network Analytics Services contract
22 May 2017
NHS Digital can confirm that Computacenter UK Ltd has been successful in the HSCN Network Analytics Services (NAS) procurement.
The procurement comprised of two Lots; Computacenter has therefore been awarded the NAS Partner contract for an initial 2 year term, and a contract to supply the materials required to build and scale the NAS for a period of up to 4 years.
The Network Analytics Service is a core component of the HSCN solution. The NAS will monitor network traffic and event data; and analyse this using a combination of software tooling and specialist resource to proactively identify abnormal traffic patterns and potentially malicious traffic on the HSCN. The service will be operated by NHS Digital, initially with the support of the NAS Partner.
This contract is another significant step forward in establishing HSCN core capabilities in readiness for migration.
Health and Social Care Network awards Advanced Network Monitoring contract
15 May 2017
NHS Digital can confirm that Capita Business Services Ltd has been awarded the HSCN Advanced Network Monitoring (ANM) services contract for 3 years, following a competitive procurement process.
The ANM service forms a key part of HSCN's central security controls by monitoring and filtering internet traffic on the network.
It is a critical component of the HSCN infrastructure and the contract is another significant step forward in establishing HSCN services.
Health and Social Care Network awards Transition Network contract
9 March 2017
NHS Digital has awarded a three year contract to British Telecommunications (BT) for the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) Transition Network, which will assist in providing service continuity to N3 users as they move their network connectivity over to HSCN.
The N3 contract ends on 31 March 2017. NHS Digital is currently supporting N3 users to procure and move to HSCN services, which will be available from multiple suppliers.
The HSCN Transition Network provides a stable platform from which to move legacy N3 services to HSCN. It will reduce in size and cost as services are moved to HSCN, until it is no longer required.
HSCN Programme awards Peering Exchange contract
25 January 2017
The HSCN has achieved a major milestone with the award of the Peering Exchange Service contract to Redcentric Solutions Ltd.
The Peering Exchange is a critical component of HSCN and allows the interconnection of multiple supplier networks - enabling HSCN consumers using different network suppliers to reliably communicate.
Redcentric was selected following a competitive procurement process and the contract was awarded for 3 years.
Dermot Ryan, HSCN Programme Director for NHS Digital, said: "We are pleased to have awarded this contract to Redcentric. The Peering Exchange is a critical component of the HSCN infrastructure and the contract is a significant step forward in establishing an HSCN marketplace of assured network services. This marketplace will drive competition amongst suppliers, improve consumer choice, support innovation and deliver value for money. It is an important milestone in the migration from N3 to HSCN and will enable more opportunities for collaboration and support digital transformation which enhances health and social care."
Mo Siddiqi, Redcentric's Chief Operating Officer, added: "We are extremely proud to have been selected to underpin this key NHS Digital initiative. Our selection is due to the dedication and quality of our people and built on the foundation of many years of investment in the public and health care space. We are already one of the largest suppliers of N3 connectivity solutions and set to be amongst the first wave of new Consumer Network Service Providers (CNSPs). We take our responsibility very seriously and are totally committed to delivering this critical infrastructure and service for NHS Digital as part of our ambition to be the most trusted provider of network, cloud and collaboration solutions to NHS Digital and the wider public sector."