Critical infrastructure in record time: Connecting NHS Extended Access Hub in the North East

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in the UK, speed of response for our health services was crucial. Across the country we saw NHS staff, trusts and volunteers responding to urgent public health needs, from the setup of the Nightingale temporary hospitals to the establishment and expansion of COVID-19 wards. Across the board, staff from doctors and nurses to construction workers and engineers went above and beyond to ensure these new healthcare facilities were up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible.

One such new development was the NHS Extended Access Hub in North Shields, Tyne and Wear – established to help medical staff support COVID-19 patients that required treatment in a secure facility but were not deemed as needing urgent hospital care. Part of the process for successfully setting-up the Hub was enabling the site with the required communications and connectivity. This request saw SSE Enterprise Telecoms and NYnet working together to deliver critical infrastructure for the blue light service in rapid time.

The challenge

The NHS Extended Access Hub in North Shields was viewed as a key component in the region’s plan to manage the impact and spread of COVID-19. With the virus spreading rapidly, reliable connectivity was needed – and fast.

They approached local Yorkshire-based broadband connectivity provider, NYnet to help supply the connection. NYnet, in turn, reached out to SSE Enterprise Telecoms for support in delivering the project.

With speed of procurement and delivery absolutely crucial to success, NYnet looked to SSE Enterprise Telecoms for support and partnership – having previously worked together on a number of circuit delivery projects.

The outcome

With resilience and reliability top of the agenda, it was agreed that an Ethernet solution would be best placed to get the Extended Access Hub up and running. Ethernet was chosen for its capacity to provide a stable service and ability to support all on-site systems and processes.

“Having worked with SSE Enterprise Telecoms on previous connectivity requirements we knew of the benefits of their LIVEQUOTE portal, but not even in our wildest dreams could we have predicted an eight-day turnaround from order to completion. This well managed, smooth process is a great display of how the industry can support our front-line key workers, should we all pull together.”
Zoe Oxley, Senior Project & Deployment Manager at NYnet

In normal circumstances, a project of this kind would take on average somewhere between 40 and 60 days to deliver. However, with all parties understanding the vital role the Extended Access Hub would play in the North East’s response to COVID-19, a concerted effort saw this timeline shrunk down to a remarkable eight working days from order to completion. And once the circuit was deployed, NYnet was able to quickly install a router and connect the site to the Health & Social Care Network (HSCN) – creating a reliable, connected facility exactly when it was most needed.

The fast roll out of the Ethernet solution is testament to the commitment of businesses across the telecommunications sector in coming together during the pandemic to make the lives of those on the front line, and their patients, a little bit easier. It shows the value of long term, collaborative partnerships in the connectivity industry.

About NYnet

NYnet Ltd is the provider of high-speed internet connections to the public sector in North Yorkshire and the North East. The company is wholly owned by North Yorkshire County Council and provides high bandwidth connectivity to over 750 public sector sites. This includes critical sites such as hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, fire stations and social care services. The network is fully configured to Government standards of resilience and security.

NYnet is continuing to provide the highest quality broadband connectivity throughout the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring there is sufficient capacity at homes and businesses throughout our county, who are using vastly increased levels of video conferencing and other virtual means of communication.

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