An update to the internet gateway of the NHS’s new national network (N3) continues to create problems for users accessing the internet, with NHS staff reporting either very slow connections or being unable to access e-mails on mobile devices.
On Wednesday Connecting for Health’s service status site was reporting "internet gateway issues" on N3. The site said some users have reported issues with internet performance, and accessing e-mails from BlackBerry devices "following the implementation of an internet gateway change."
A spokesperson for Connecting for Health said that intermittent problems had been reported but were being addressed.
EHI has been contacted by a number of NHS users affected by the problem, who pointed out that despite these ongoing issues, the service status site was still showing N3 as green on 3 January – which is meant to indicate that the service is working with no known problems.
As first reported by E-Health Insider in December some GP practices have been experiencing recurrent problems with connecting to the internet using the internet gateway within the N3 network provided by BT.
While staff affected found they could still access Choose and Book, e-mail and the NHS’s intranet (NWW sites), the problems that had been reported at the beginning of December were still occurring at 3 January.
Connecting for Health, the DH agency responsible for the NHS IT programme told EHI that the N3 Internet gate launched on 20 December "has led to a significant increase in internet capabilities for the entire NHS", with traffic volumes of more than 5 terrabytes of internet traffic successfully passing over it since its launch.
The agency confirmed that since 5 January 2007 "there had been an intermittent problem" resulting in outages of an hour or two at a time, which appeared to have worsened "although being intermittent in nature, this is difficult to quantify".