DMW supports NHS with Health and Social Care migration

03 September 2020 3 min. read

NHS Digital has tapped consultants from DMW to help with the mass migration of organisations from its legacy N3 connectivity network. The firm helped oversee the move of over 14,000 services to the new Health and Social Care Network, which aims at providing greater choice and flexibility in the connectivity services purchased by local organisations.

The UK health and social care system is having to adapt quickly to a new environment, facing challenges including massive shortfalls in funding, and the colossal pressures placed upon it by an ageing population and an active pandemic. This has buoyed demand for consulting firms among the care sector, as technology is expected to play a key role in helping carers do more with less – while helping improve transparency and spread information more visibly among all players in the health chain.

The Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) is one newly created disaggregated, multi-supplier marketplace operating to this end. Looking to address the increasing demand for connectivity and bandwidth improvements within the NHS, the network looks to provide choice to the UK's health and social care sites when selecting their network connection. This replaces a single supplier N3 network that has been in place for circa 16 years.

DMW supports NHS with Health and Social Care migrationNHS Digital’s Patrick Clark, HSCN Programme Director said of the work, “We needed to find some successor network arrangements for those that had been in place for some time… providing choice to local organisations, and empowering those organisations to make their own decisions about the network connectivity services they wanted to buy – and who they wanted to buy them with…”

The speed and reliability these connections bring improves the NHS’s ability to share life-saving information quickly and correctly across different sites. At the same time, the network services are an average of 70% cheaper than with on N3, enabling sites to upgrade to faster, more reliable fibre services at no additional cost, saving the NHS £75 million annually. The implementation of HSCN was still easier said than done, however, a project of enormous scale which had to transition into becoming responsible for leading the procurement and replacement of 14,500 services for GPs, NHS Trusts and other sites across England.

In order to oversee the migration from N3 to HSCN, NHS Digital appointed consultancy DMW to work alongside the organisation as its chosen migration partner. This saw DMW align closely with NHS Digital to deliver to provide management, technical guidance and troubleshooting support directly to customers and suppliers. The firm’s work helped ensure quick resolutions to a range of different issues. The migration ultimately connected 1,200 organisations to the UK health network, also helping achieve a targeted 35% in cost savings on like-for-like services for the NHS.

In a video filmed prior to the coronavirus crisis, Christopher Dean, CEO of DMW, commented, “We’ve worked with the individual trusts and the central team, out to the individual organisations… The information [we’ have helped pass along] is life-saving stuff – this is pathology, this is radiology, this is your test to see if you’ve got some disease, so it’s really important that it works first-time. The NHS is going to be under major strain over the coming year – and connectivity is going to become crucial… It’s been an honour to be part of this programme.”

Clark added, “DMW’s hands-on technical, analysis and programme management expertise has been invaluable in designing and mobilising the delivery of the health and social care network… They have a sense of purpose that means they are really committed to doing this.”