• First in the UK to provide unique new community network linking
170 sites including hospitals and GPs
• Enables savings of £1 million per year and better patient care

Patients and staff in the St Helens and Knowsley area are set to benefit from a truly 21st century communications network, robust and flexible enough to serve their needs for years to come. ntl:Telewest Business, the supplier of communications services to the public and private sectors, has announced today that it is working with St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust to build a community network linking all healthcare providers in its area. The five year contract is worth £4.2 million and the ntl:Telewest Business solution was selected due to the local management and control it allows.

The network, the first of its kind in the country, enables healthcare professionals such as GPs to electronically access patient records and results securely, speeding up treatment and supporting the integration of services for the area’s approximately 350,000 residents, extending into Halton in 2007. By building a connected health community, linking 170 sites and spanning all major NHS IT applications, the Trust will save £1 million per year in improved productivity and lower telephone costs.

Ann Marr, Chief Executive of St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust said,
“We have a clear vision - to deliver the best possible service to our patients on a local level. To be the first in the UK to offer this unique system is tremendous and shows our commitment to a community-based network using advanced technology to bring 7,500 local staff together to give better, faster patient care. By working with ntl:Telewest Business we are able to deliver on our vision while generating
£1 million of efficiency savings that can be ploughed back into patient care.”

Part funded by the Connecting for Health programme along with the Trust, the robust direct fibre network deployed by ntl:Telewest Business features high levels of security and resilience to ensure uninterrupted service to the community. The Trust is running all local and national healthcare applications on the network, including email, patient records, test results, internet and intranet access as well as benefiting from cheaper voice calls through Voice over IP (VoIP) technology.

“Providing connected healthcare at a local, community level is central to delivering the highest possible standards of patient care and ensuring that the current major investment in NHS IT provides real benefits,” said David Astley, head of health and emergency services, ntl:Telewest Business. “Working with St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust on this ground-breaking project has demonstrated the advantages a local health service brings to patients and the healthcare professionals that serve them.”

ntl:Telewest Business was selected to implement the network due to its combination of strong product, price and high levels of support. The project is due for completion in December 2007 and currently has been rolled out to main core hospitals, 20 GP practices and 3 Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) schemes.

The new Trust network is part of a drive to implement Community of Interest Networks (COINs) that link local healthcare resources to provide faster and more efficient patient care. ntl:Telewest Business is leading this change and is working with healthcare organisations across the country to implement COINs.

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About ntl:Telewest Business

ntl:Telewest Business, part of the UK’s second largest fixed-line telecommunications company, is a leading communications provider to businesses, public sector organisations and service providers in the UK. It delivers a complete portfolio of voice, data and internet solutions nation-wide.

ntl:Telewest Business sales and support teams are located across the UK, in close proximity to our customers, as part of a commitment to deliver superior customer service.

ntl:Telewest Business delivers services over the Group’s £13bn investment in its state-of-the-art infrastructure giving business customers access to the largest alternative network in the UK.

ntl:Telewest Business is trusted to provide critical communications to high profile customers including: Heathrow's Terminal 5, Birmingham City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

For further information go to http://www.ntltelewestbusiness.co.uk

Published on: 12:00AM on 27th July 2007