County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDNFT) are one of the largest integrated care providers in England. They serve a population of around 650,000 people and operate from over 40 sites across the north east. Their sites range in size from The University Hospital of North Durham and The James Cook University Hospital to smaller practices and walk in centres. Robust, reliable, and scalable IT infrastructure are crucial to the successful delivery of the Trust’s health services.
In 2013 CDDNFT had independent ISP connections into each of its 40 sites. Because of this set-up key stakeholders such as doctors and business support staff did not have access to local hosted services such as systems installed at certain hospitals, documents and/or network drives – sometimes staff would not get access to the information they needed without either having to request it or travel to that site. The trust also had several failure points because sites were not connected to one another and had limited exit/failover routes in place if the network went down.
CDDNFT tendered their network WAN provision, the tender detailed a requirement for the provision of a new highly resilient carrier class network to connect 40 sites.
The organisation required a single networking solution which enabled all their sites to be connected into one discrete CDDNFT network, this would enable users to become fully mobile and access information, data, and systems from any of the trusts sites, ultimately improving outcomes for all trust stakeholders, including patients. The single network also needed to be resilient with multiple failover points so that if the network went down at one site this would automatically failover and have a route to the outside world through another site’s connection.
We were successful in our bid and immediately began to execute their project planning and implementation strategy with dedicated project delivery teams. The project was delivered ahead of schedule and due to a number of client premises changes was under the tendered cost. The client noted our highly flexible approach in adapting to customer needs.
We provided a highly transparent cost effective solution involving 40 sites all served by dedicated fibre provision all connecting to the 10G core ring between The University Hospital of North Durham, Darlington Memorial Hospital, Tanfield Data Centre and Bishop Auckland Hospital, remaining sites were delivered via dual diverse resilient PTP fibre interconnecting to the 10G core ring.
The network design employed a highly flexible configuration which enabled the customer to integrate the new provision with existing infrastructure whilst implementing a new logical internal architecture. Achieved by bespoke MPLS configurations which are capable of dynamically assigning the individual site connectivity configuration at the point of install and conversion by the internal NHS ICT support. This was only possible by working to build a solid relationship with the customer and carefully planning each stage logistically and technically. Throughout the process DCC were highly flexible in their approach to the customers’ needs and requirements, this resulted in additional logical MPLS network services such as public access, foreign trust (to enable other NHS bodies to connect) configurations being implemented to increase the utilisation and effectiveness of the network.
The client experienced 0% downtime as the new architecture was implemented and buildings converted.
CDDNFT now benefit from a fully resilient, dedicated network which enables more efficient deployment of resource.
The trust also benefited from significant cost savings by reducing the number of ISP connections and using transit connections to connect all sites together.
We also provide services to Gateshead NHS, Tees Esk NHS and Health Education.