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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

New National Network (N3)

Computer ScreenThe NHSnet infrastructure was re-procured under the project name N3. In early 2004, BT were awarded the N3 Contract, to provide and maintain a network that links all NHS organisations in England.

Unlike NHSnet, N3 is an open network with more flexible ways to connect. There are a number of ways for community pharmacies to connect but to ensure that the connection is secure for sending and receiving electronic prescription messages, the network connection must be of a type approved by the HSCIC.

There are 3 main ways to connect: connecting as part of a system supplier package, arranging a connection with a commercial network provider or a direct connection to N3. More information can be found below.

A number of the pharmacy system suppliers are planning to offer 'all in one packages' which include system upgrades and connectivity. Contractors should contact system suppliers directly for more information on the packages being offered.

Indirect Connection: Connection as Part of a System Supplier Package

Pharmacy contractors will also be able to enter into a contractual agreement with an approved network provider to purchase an indirect connection independent of the pharmacy system.

Companies offering secure managed network solutions to community pharmacy can be found below. Contractors wishing to contract directly with a network provider should check with their system supplier to ensure the connectivity option is compatible with the pharmacy system and appropriate for operating the EPS. 

InTechnology plc 

Product: InTechnology N3 Connect

InTechnology provide a secure and reliable high-bandwidth connection to NHS’ N3. The solution is being targetted at organisations servicing multiple care providers at a nationwide level.

Contact Details:
InTechnology plc
Central House
Beckwith Knowle
Harrogate HG3 1UG
T. +44 (0)800 983 2522
F. +44 (0)1423 850001
Contact: Sean Paxton, Product Development Manager
Tony Sharp, Product Manager

Product: Securnet
Securnet is a secure and reliable high-bandwidth connection to N3 designed for community pharmacy and other healthcare contractors.

Contact Details:
Securnet admin team 
T. +44 (0) 203 075 4555

Daisy Group PLC
Tel: 08000 317 317

If you are supplying an aggregator solution to the pharmacy market in England, please email to have your contact details added to this section of the site.

Indirect Connection: Connection Via a Commercial Network Provider

Although community pharmacies have the option of connecting directly to N3 this is not likely to be the most effective option for independent contractors or small chains. To connect directly, contractors are required to be sponsored, in most cases by the NHS England Area Team.

A number of the larger chains have chosen to connect their corporate networks directly to N3.

Selecting a Connectivity Solution

Points to consider when selecting a connectivity solution include:

  • What are the service levels and performance being offered by the supplier?
  • What happens if something goes wrong? Can compensation be claimed if connectivity fails and this impacts on the operation of the pharmacy?
  • What are the arrangements for installing connectivity and can this be co-ordinated with the installation of the pharmacy system upgrades necessary to enable ETP?
  • Will the supplier offer any added benefits with the connectivity solution?
  • Will the connectivity option be compatible with your pharmacy system? (system suppliers will be able to advise you of what is possible with their system)
  • How long will the contract for connectivity be for? Different suppliers are offering contracts which last for different lengths of time, for example, from one to four years?
  • How flexible is the contract? for example can I change my speed of connection without charge at a later date?

More Information

Click on the link below to view the N3 Website:

N3 Website

(NB: This Website is targeted at the NHS in general and includes information which may not be relevant for community pharmacies)

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