The public sector has been on a journey away from private networks and towards the use of the internet and cloud-based solutions for a few years, from central government setting the cloud first strategic direction in 2013, to the confirmation in 2017 that for the vast majority of public services ‘the internet is OK’.
The NHS has recently endeavoured to move in the same direction. Following the digital ambitions set out both in the Long Term Plan and by the current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, NHS Digital produced last month a new internet first policy and guidance for health organisations and IT providers.
The guidance states that new digital services in health and social care should operate over the internet by 2021, with existing ones remediating at the earliest opportunity. This will result in a move away from private networks, such as NHSnet, N3 and more recently, the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), on which the NHS has been relying thus far to access and share information securely.