First contract for NHS Health and Social Care Network awarded published 31st January 2017

First Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) contract has been awarded to UK firm

[London, UK] NHS Digital has awarded a three-year contract for the development of Peering Exchanges Services as part of the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), set to replace the current N3 system in March this year.

The HSCN will therefore create ‘a marketplace of network options’ for organisations, supporting plans outlined in the Five Year Forward View and the government’s Paperless 2020 agenda.

Interoperability will be the overarching theme of the new network, acting as a ‘foundation layer’’ upon which other services will be built.

An NHS Digital spokesperson told BJ-HC: “The Peering Exchange allows the interconnection of multiple supplier networks, enabling HSCN consumers using different network suppliers, to reliably communicate.

“It 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 to drive competition amongst suppliers, improve consumer choice, support innovation and deliver value for money.”

‘Deliver value for money’

However, NHS Digital will still deliver the ‘central infrastructure, service co-ordination and security monitoring’, underpinning the digital transformation of the healthcare system.

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

“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,” said Dermot Ryan, HSCN Programme Director at NHS Digital.

The £12m contract was awarded to British firm Redcentric, which revealed the Peering Exchange will act as a ‘super switch’:

“Multiple Consumer Network Service Providers (CN-SPs) will supply connectivity to end users and interconnect their networks at multiple Peering Exchange points to form a single logical network,” said a Redcentric press release.

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