BT has announced that its NHS New National Network service provider arm (N3SP), the unit within BT responsible for building and supporting the broadband network for the NHS has achieved ISO 20000 accreditation for effective IT service management.

N3 is the broadband infrastructure for the £12.4 billion NHS National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT).

ISO 20000 accreditation is the World’s first standard for IT service management. The standard sets out requirements against which an organisation can be assessed for effective IT service management process and performance.

According to BT ISO 20000 provides an integrated framework for delivering and managing IT services to the customer, encouraging a more service orientated and customer focused organisation.

Increasingly customers, particularly those in the public sector, will only consider companies for large IT contracts if they are accredited to this standard. The NHS already insists that for large outsourced contracts its suppliers meet this standard or its predecessor, BS 15000.

Patrick O’Connell, managing director BT Health, said in a statement: “We continue to make good progress on our NHS contracts and today’s news that N3SP has been given the seal of approval by gaining ISO 20000 accreditation rounds off a good year. This independent endorsement is an example of our commitment to providing a high standard of service to all our customers.”

Stuart Hill, chief executive of BT N3SP, added that achieving the ISO standard was important as it provided "a baseline against which an organisation can demonstrate its service delivery processes conform to best practices and are performing well".

Hill added: “This globally recognised standard is all about industry-wide best practice and gives our customer the confidence that they have a totally customer focused supplier.”

BT was awarded the £530 million N3 contract in February 2004. It has since created one of Europe’s largest secure virtual private networks. N3SP is run as an autonomous unit within BT to and, as required by the N3 contract, provides the NHS with broadband connections at best value from a range of suppliers.

BT has have installed about 16,000 connections and says it is confident that it will complete the 18,000 roll out in England by the end of March 2007.

EHI’s sister site EHI Primary Care is currently running a campaign calling for a fair deal on broadband for GPs, due to widespread reports of slow links, particularly to branch surgeries, and practices facing hefty bills for network upgrades.

As well as providing the N3 network as part of NPfIT, BT is the national application service provider of the NHS care records service and the London local service provider.


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