East London NHS Foundation Trust has invested in a new state of the art fibre optic network from Virgin Media Business to connect 50 of its sites. In doing so it has dramatically boosted reliability and increased speeds for its desktop users fivefold to an average of 10 Megabits-per-second (Mbps). The Trust provides mental health and community health care to people within the City of London and the London Boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham.
East London NHS Foundation Trust has now increased connectivity speeds so that its 3,700 employees can more effectively access applications that the Trust is increasingly using to support patient care. These include patient records services, internal clinical systems and some NHS national applications such as booking systems. Faster access to this information means that staff can be more productive and experience the flexibility and simplicity that applications bring to organisations.
The new managed virtual private network (IPVPN), provided by Virgin Media Business, replaces an ageing BT metro VPN that was based on legacy ATM technology. This had proved expensive to run and outages lasting days were not uncommon. Another weakness lay in the fact that each link provided a maximum of only 34 Mbps to each site compared with 1 Gbps now available with the new fibre-based link from Virgin Media Business.
Jonathan Buchan, ICT Manager at East London NHS Foundation explains: “The NHS uses a lot of hosted applications. We looked at various alternatives but found that ADSL-based solutions are just not as reliable or as fast as the fibre optic, solution that Virgin Media Business is providing us with.”
Buchan continues: “Additionally, the Ethernet VPN offering is the only product on the market that we can use straightaway without customising it or investing our time implementing. The fact that it’s fully managed by Virgin Media Business is also a big help because it means we don’t need to worry about day to day issues and can be assured it will run as it should.”
“Hosted applications, whether they be in a private or public ‘cloud’ all depend on one thing to work properly – connectivity. And this needs to be delivered reliably and at high speed. This is the way that computing is going in both public and in private sectors. For NHS Trusts dealing with rapidly changing patient information and in real time there is no alternative but to look at delivering this performance through a high speed, fibre optic Ethernet based IVPN” said David Astley, head of public sector, health and emergency services at Virgin Media Business.