Much of the NHS relies on a legacy private network implemented and developed over the last two decades. This network connects every GP, hospital and clinic in England and Scotland to a backbone that provides key services such as electronic referrals and bookings, electronic diagnostic scans & x-rays, audio & video conferencing and telemedicine. These capabilities have created a world where patients receive better, more convenient treatment, faster diagnosis, emergency services that can respond quicker, shorter hospital stays and faster discharges.
With the advances in security, resilience, bandwidth and Quality of Service (QoS) the Internet has become a viable alternative to this legacy private network.
Fundamentals First led a small team to appraise the feasibility of re-routing and consolidating key services away from the legacy private network to the public Internet whilst maintaining existing benefits, enabling innovation and hence improving patient care further.
The “Internet First” Policy and Strategy were successfully developed, aligned with Government network, cyber-security and cloud-security standards and first published in 2018 – https://digital.nhs.uk/services/internet-first
The project arose as part of wider government directives, with targeted savings of £150m / year. Using the strategic roadmap 17+ key services have now successfully been made available over the Internet realising the project objectives.