St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust is to build a £4.2m community network linking all healthcare providers in its area with the help of ntl:Telewest Business.
The five year contract for the network will enable healthcare professionals such as GPs to electronically access patient records and results securely, speeding up treatment for approximately 350,000 residents.
By building a connected health community, linking 170 sites and spanning all major NHS IT applications, the Trust expects to save £1m per year in improved productivity and lower telephone costs.
Ann Marr, Chief Executive of St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust said, "Our community-based network will bring together 7,500 local staff to give better, faster patient care. The direct fibre network deployed features high levels of security and resilience to ensure uninterrupted service to the community and is part funded by the Connecting for Health programme along with the Trust."
The Trust is running all local and national healthcare applications on the network, including e-mail, patient records, test results, internet and intranet access as well as benefiting from cheaper voice calls through Voice over IP (VoIP) technology.
The project is due for completion in December 2007 and has currently has been rolled out to main core hospitals, 20 GP practices and 3 Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) schemes.