NHS Digital awards contract for major component of N3 replacement

Core of the upcoming Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) to be be provided by UK IT managed services provider Redcentric

Posted 30 January 2017 by Gary Flood

A new Peering Exchange contract to deliver what’s described as the core of the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) has been awarded by NHS Digital.

The deal has been won by UK IT managed services provider Redcentric, initially on a three year basis with an option for a possible three year extension. Monetary value of the award has not been disclosed.

The news is significant, as it marks a big step forward for the planned successor to what was ultimately the biggest success of the National Programme for IT, the NHS’s N3 network.

That programme is called HSCN, for Health and Social Care Network, which will move from a single-supplier network to a disaggregated supplier model.

The Peering Exchange will effectively act as a ‘super switch’, says NHS Digital, allowing multiple Consumer Network Service Providers to supply connectivity to healthcare end users and interconnect their networks at multiple Peering Exchange points to form a single logical network.

“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,” claimed Dermot Ryan, HSCN Programme Director for NHS Digital.

“It is an important step in the migration from N3 to HSCN and will enable more opportunities for collaboration and support digital transformation which enhances health and social care.”

Such a marketplace, NHS Digital believes, will “drive competition amongst suppliers, improve consumer choice, support innovation and deliver value for money”.

The Peering Exchange, meanwhile, will allow HSCN customers currently using different network suppliers to reliably communicate by interconnecting multiple supplier networks.

Speaking for the supplier, 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 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.”