N3 - The National Network


N3 provides fast, broadband networking services for the National Health Service in England. N3 is one of the largest Virtual Private Networks in Europe with excess of 40,000 connections (as of April 2009), 63 points of presence and employing over 12,000 km fiber. N3 also provides services for the 1.3 million employees on the NHS Internet Gateway. N3 is an Internet Protocol (IP) network used on the internet and now almost universally used to connect computers and other systems over a Wide Area Network (WAN).

external image l_Overviewdiagramvisio.jpg


N3 is the NHS national broadband network linking hospitals, medical centers, and GPs in England and Scotland which replaced NHSnet. N3 was established in 2004 and is voice enabled, 6 Layer QoS, a digital network management solution. Provides Local Gateway Service which enables free on-net calls between N3 voice uses. The Community of Interst Networks (COIN) geographically links surgeries, medical centers, and hospitals over the N3. More than 30% of the NHS estate benefits from the better-integrated patient care and operational efficiency. Doctors and medical staff can share patient data quickly and effectively because of the COIN sites are securely interconnected with national computer centers.


  • Most recent award won is 2009 Good Communication Award for IT Partnership.
  • January 2009 won eGovernment excellence: Innovation in Strategy on a national level, for Community of Interest Networks.
  • April 2008 won Government Computing Awards for Innovation for best project of government to government working.


N3 provides technology services for the following services used by the NHS:
  • Electronic booking service, Choose and Book - offers patients the ability to choose the best hospital for their appoinments. (More than 14 million Choose & Book bookings have been made over N3)
  • Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions (ETP) - makes prescribing and dispensing safer, easier, and more convenient for patients. (Over 180 million ETPs have been made over N3)
  • Picture Archiving & Communications Systems (PACS) - captures, stores, display and distributes digital medical images, which allows for faster and more accurate diagnosis. (1 Million images stored daily)
  • NHS Care Records Service (NHS CRS) - individual electronic NHS Care Records for every patient in England. (581,000 users registered for access to the Spine, with 248,000 Summary Care Records now up to th Spine.) Eventually 50 million records will be stored with the highes levels of security and authentication.

Web Resources/References:
N3 - The National Network