NHS N3 Management

Connection to the NHS N3 network is no easy process; Hytec is here to help you comply with CfH requirements and get you connected using our tried and tested methodology

What is N3 and why is it important?

N3 is the NHS national broadband network, facilitating the flow of information between key stakeholders in the healthcare sector in the UK. However, N3 is an ‘untrusted’ network because it was never designed for the transfer of patient identifiable data (PID). Hytec helps Trusts, NHS business partners and third party providers get the most out of N3.

The NHS’ N3 network is one of the largest Virtual Private Networks (VPN) in Europe and underpins the NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) programme. It enables access and sharing of information, amongst others, on the ‘Choose and Book’ service, Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions (ETP), Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) and the NHS Care Records Service (NHS CRS) and The Spine.

It allows information to be shared on patients between different health authorities and in some cases, between health and social care, where Local Authorities have an N3 connection and are audited against CfH’s standards.

Because N3 was never designed to be a medium to transfer patient data, adequate security measures (such as data encryption) were never built into the network. Hytec can help your organisation to use N3 correctly and facilitate the transfer of PID and other sensitive data across the network.

How can Hytec help my Trust or organisation to use N3 properly?

Through our experience of connecting to secure networks, such as GCSx, or the NHS’s N3, we have become a trusted advisor to bodies such as Capital Ambition (previously London Connects), Socitm, ADASS and NHS CfH (Connecting for Health).

We provide information security consultancy around N3 for NHS Trusts, NHS business partners and third party suppliers to the NHS requiring an N3 connection. Our Information Assurance team, lead by Senior Information Assurance Consultant Robin Ingram, are currently working with a number of NHS and non-NHS organisations to handle their Information Governance Toolkit (IGT) version 8 submission and even handle the entire process from submitting applications to CfH, project managing the ‘go-live date’ of your N3 connection and even hosting, managing and supporting your organisation’s N3 connection and the infrastructure associated with it.

Below is the Hytec methodology for taking an organisation through the process of N3 connection, right from beginning to end, ensuring ongoing support where this is required by the customer.

N3 diagram 


Security associated with N3

As N3 is not designated secure enough to allow the transfer of confidential data (including PID), Hytec’s Information Assurance team can help your organisation write security policies encompassing general user security and procedures for the correct way to handle confidential data. This brings great benefit to you when it comes to the annual Toolkit submission for proving your credentials to stay connected to N3, as the Toolkit now requires that supporting evidence is submitted to back up your answers.

For organisations that do not have a designated Information Security Officer, a member of Hytec’s experienced Information Assurance Team can act in this capacity on an interim basis- one less thing for you to worry about, and you have the assurance of our long track record of working with Connecting for Health on all issues related to N3.

If you would like more information on any of the above services, click here or call our helpful sales team on 0208 973 1100. 

See Also:

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  • Information Sharing

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  • N3 Hosting Solutions

    Hytec provides individually tailored, managed N3 hosting and infrastructure solutions to suit a wide range of public sector and private industry requirements.  

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Specialists in information solutions for local government and health authorities, 

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