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Cisco and Cisilion Help Improve Healthcare Services and Reduce Costs for Suffolk NHS


Patients and healthcare staff in Suffolk will be able to communicate more easily and at significantly reduced costs with a Cisco® Unified Communications system being implemented across 200 healthcare locations in Suffolk by Cisilion, a Cisco Gold Certified Partner. The solution will be one of the first voice-over-IP (VoIP) systems to be deployed over the NHS N3 network. Part of the National Programme for IT, the network provides the NHS with fast broadband communications services.

The Cisco Unified Communications system is expected to help Suffolk NHS organisations, which serve around 600,000 people, improve healthcare provision by allowing health workers to be more mobile and by bringing services closer to patients. Doctors, community nurses and child health visitors will be accessible via their own direct dial numbers, making it simpler and easier for them to work from any location. Significant cost savings are expected because the Cisco Unified Communications system makes centralised management much easier and will reduce the need for on-site engineer visits. Further cost savings will be gained by reducing the cost of internal calls in Suffolk and with other NHS organisations outside the region via N3, and by replacing the number and types of telephone systems scattered around the region with a single system integrated with the existing data network.

The Cisco Unified Communications system is also being used to manage two virtual call centre services, one for general patient enquiries and the second for Suffolk Support Services’ internal IM&T Service Desk. Both ensure calls are routed to the right destination faster, and resources are managed to meet demand.

The solution is being managed by Suffolk Support Services, which provide information and communications technology services to the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and the Suffolk Primary Care Trust.

Nick Rackham, technical programme manager at Suffolk Support Services, said, “A reliable and flexible telephone system such as the Cisco Unified Communications system is crucial to providing an effective healthcare service, especially as Suffolk is making health services more mobile and much more accessible to the community. The beauty of working together with Cisco and Cisilion is having two highly professional organisations to help us provide the community with a reliable and cost-effective communications infrastructure which we can develop as healthcare demands change. They are also working hard to ensure the project continues to run to time and budget.”

The Cisco Unified Communications system is being deployed to around 4,000 NHS healthcare and administration staff at locations such as health clinics, care homes and NHS management headquarters in the region. Some of Suffolk’s 103 newer general practitioner (GP) surgeries are also being connected to the system, with the other GPs expected to be connected over the next few years. The Cisco Unified Communications system will also be used to manage communications in the Suffolk PCT Silver Command Centre, a command-and-control facility to coordinate emergency services in the event of a major incident.

“Healthcare institutions like the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and the Suffolk Primary Care Trust want to provide patients with a consistent and constantly improving level of care. The aim is to provide an integrated service where all levels of care are connected, from family doctor to specialist. This means having the infrastructure and communication systems such as Cisco Unified Communications to link up the various departments across different care institutions so that healthcare professionals and their patients can communicate and can share information at every stage,” said Terry Espiner, head of healthcare, Cisco UK.

To implement the Cisco Unified Communications system, Suffolk Support Services, along with Cisilion, has upgraded its existing Cisco network infrastructure, which uses Cisco Catalyst® 3750 Series Switches and Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches along with Cisco 1800 Series Integrated Services Routers, Cisco 2800 Series Integrated Services Routers and Cisco 3800 Series Integrated Services Routers. The Cisco Unified Communications system, which uses the NHS N3 network and Cisco local-area networks in Suffolk, includes Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager version 4.3), Cisco Unity unified messaging and around 4,500 Cisco Unified IP Phones 7900 Series.

A key part of implementing and supporting the core infrastructure and the Cisco Unified Communications system is Cisilion’s SMART Portal, an online tool allowing customers to book Cisilion’s services and manage related documentation. It enables Suffolk Support Services to manage support more efficiently: for example, by getting engineers with the appropriate skills on-site quickly, without lots of paper work.

Roger Paul, managing director of Cisilion, said, “We have worked closely with the trust over the last 18 months to ensure that each step of this extensive technology upgrade has delivered on the prime objective of supporting the best possible patient care whilst minimising operating overheads. The success of this programme should give other trusts the confidence to consider the migration of their voice infrastructure.”

About Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust provides specialist care to people with mental health and learning disability problems across the county. Services are available to people who live throughout Suffolk and include:

In-patient and community mental health care for adults

Child and adolescent community care

Substance misuse services

In-patient and community learning disability services

In-patient facilities are based in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. Community services are based in almost all the main market towns in the county.

About Suffolk PCT
Suffolk Primary Care Trust came into existence on 1 October 2006, replacing Suffolk West PCT and the three Suffolk East PCTs. Our role is to commission health care for, and improve the health of our local population and provide local community health services. We serve the 585,000 people of Suffolk excluding Waveney. Our vision is to ensure that we improve the health and well being of the communities we serve by preventing illness, treating people early and effectively, ensuring health and social care is provided quickly, to a high standard and at a convenient time and place, within available resources. We commission acute and specialist health care services - mainly from the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, the West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust and Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. Our own staff provide community based nursing, therapy services, specialist clinical and rehabilitative services.

About Cisilion
Cisilion provides integrated, fully supported, voice and data networks. We focus on a select portfolio of best in class communications and data management technologies supported by a comprehensive family of services. As a Cisco Gold partner, we offer our customers an in depth understanding of implementing Cisco and other technologies to cost effectively create secure voice, video and data networks. Our SMART Services portfolio provides a virtualised extension to in-house IT teams maximising budgets and flexibility whilst ensuring control is retained. Contact: Jes Breslaw, Marketing Director. 01372 201160,

About Cisco
Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at For ongoing news, please go to Cisco equipment in Europe is supplied by Cisco Systems International BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems, Inc.


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