Digital transformation in the NHS is critical as it moves away from private (and expensive) legacy networks such as N3 and HSCN, it moves closer to its goals for better collaboration and flexible working.

The Internet First Policy, established by NHS Digital, is a positive step towards making health and social care digital services more accessible over the internet. This new policy stems from the Technology and Digital Leaders Network TDLN, (made up of cross-government organisations) who work to make sure government is equipped with the right technology to deliver the best digital services.

TDLN have confirmed that, for healthcare’s digital services, ‘the internet is ok’; all new services should be made available on the internet, secured appropriately using the best standards-based approaches.

“We are moving health and care away from private networks like N3 and HSCN so we can run all our services across the internet.”

Matt Hancock, The secretary of state for health and social care, 23 May 2019


This Policy is in line with the Government Transformation Strategy which highlights the necessity for full department transformation where digitally-enabled transformation has a full-scale impact on the whole organisation, improving services to citizens across channels and improving efficiency.

Services will add the most value when they are readily available to patients, citizens, staff, services and third parties who use them to deliver high quality healthcare. When communications is adopted within healthcare, full department transformation can become a reality. Increasingly, government departments will need to collaborate across traditional organisational boundaries.

“The tools, techniques, technology and approaches of the internet age give us greater opportunities than ever before to help government:

  • better understand what citizens need
  • assemble services more quickly and at lower cost
  • continuously improve services, based on data and evidence”


The benefits of publishing digital services on the internet include:

  • easier access to digital health and social care services
  • improved interoperability between digital services
  • increased innovation by improving accessibility to other digital service providers
  • reduced complexity and duplication in network connectivity for health and care organisations

(The internet first policy)…”will open up the ecosystem too, so charities will be able to build apps for patients with specific conditions, for example, and the NHS can run off-the-shelf stuff that works well everywhere else – we don’t need everything invented here.”

Matt Hancock, The secretary of state for health and social care, 23 May 2019

This is a progressive step for health and social care and should make it easier to build digital tools for the NHS. The sector will not only make significant savings, it’ll free up NHS budgets to focus on other digital transformation projects and enhance better quality patient care.

The NHS are in the early stages of developing the Policy and are navigating a robust implementation journey, but it’s clear that the aim to promote best practice and embed good working standards within IT contracts across the NHS is high on the NHS agenda.

In line with these priorities, Opus are supporting health and social care sector with the IT tools and processes required to make it easier for staff to work effectively.

So, whilst the internet First Policy is being developed, get a head start and contact us to find out how you can become a more collaborative organisation and benefit from better productivity, increased mobility and a better user experience.

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