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Kent NHS Trust

Case Study

“The N3 community of interest network (COIN) within Kent was one of, if not, the largest and most complex in England. It’s a credit to the strong leadership and collaboration between the seven Trusts in Kent, that not only was a successful migration of services to HSCN completed, but we were the first to do so in the UK.”

Digitising the patient experience in Kent NHS.

Delivering Digital Transformation for 1.6 million patients across 450 sites.

In 2017, the NHS decided that the 12 years old ‘N3 network’ needed to be retired. But what was the ‘N3 network’? N3 was a decade-old national broadband network for the English NHS, connecting all NHS locations and 1.3 million employees across England, a solution formerly managed by BT.

As a single supplier service, N3 provided access to national applications, such as patient records, hospital appointments and prescription services for NHS organisations. However, as with all single supplier markets, the network became outdated.

Digitising Healthcare

Digital transformation is affecting all areas of our lives, and the NHS is no different. The healthcare world is changing; virtual surgeries, remote consultations and telehealth, all improving the way health services are delivered. But all of these transformations depend on a high speed, secure, cost-effective network infrastructure.

“The migration of the Kent CoIN demonstrates everything HSCN was designed to achieve; • greater collaboration, both locally and with suppliers; reduced costs for the NHS by virtue of the HSCN marketplace and • using technology to provide enhanced capabilities, that will deliver better care through health and social care integration.”

The Solution

Kent NHS kicked off the implementation of the project in August 2018. Arriving at the final solution has taken some time for two key reasons:

1. With a large number of stakeholders involved, the project required strong stakeholder management. Convergence Group were fortunate to work with their Partner, AdEPT on this project. AdEPT’s strength in programme management ensured that all relevant parties were consulted and communicated with at all relevant milestones.

2. Across the seven Trusts in Kent, there are over 450 sites within the project scope, and each site has its own network requirements. The scope also
covered 8 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) within the Kent area. The added complication here is that it was necessary to allow secure collaboration between the acute hospital sites and the doctors surgeries within the area. This design would then allow them to leverage centralised services and savings. The outcome is a carefully designed, complex architecture that is fit for purpose, future-proofed and cost-effective
concepted by our highly experienced Solution Architects. 

We provide a fully managed wide area network (WAN) connecting all sites to the central hub. The high-speed network is highly resilient and capable of scaling up and down as required. The new architecture now fully supports the individual Trusts being able to collaborate more effectively together which was another desired outcome of the project.

The entire network is protected by multiple firewalls providing high levels of performance and dynamic threat intelligence. The network is configured not only to support internal NHS connectivity but also allows access to HSCN and internet applications. From its Network Operations Centre (NOC) in Solihull, Convergence Group manages the solution on a 24/7/365 basis – monitoring applications, user activity and security, along with dynamic cyber threat detection. 

Ultimately this means that 1.6 million people across Kent will receive better care through improved network and bandwidth capacity, financial savings and improved access to clinical systems.

The Future

Productivity improvements through digital transformation and an improved patient experience are core to the health sector’s evolution as it strives
to meet the growing needs of the UK.

Fast, secure and reliable connectivity services across the NHS are vital in making this happen. Convergence Group are proud to be a recognised partner supporting the on-going transformation of our country’s healthcare.

For more information, contact our Specialist Team

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