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NHS in Transition – Urgent Action Required

As a result of the re-structure of the NHS, urgent action is required to ensure you continue to have the ability to manage existing N3 services, and order any new requirements, post 1st April 2013.

If your organisation is impacted by the NHS re-structure on 1st April, you should complete the activities below. This will enable transfer of existing N3 services to a new organisation and for new organisations to order N3 services. The activities below can, and should, be completed in parallel:

  1. Request a list of N3 services affected by the NHS re-structure
  2. Complete an Expression of Interest form to apply for an N3 Access Agreement
  3. Appoint an OC1 (ODS administrator) and register CCG sites with ODS
  4. Complete the relevant Information Governance requirements

Provided appropriate delegated authority is in place, the above activities can be completed by a CSU on behalf of a CCG.

Please note: As part of the N3 Access Agreement process, a CCG can nominate two CRM users who will then be authorised to manage existing, and order new, N3 services on their behalf.

Health and Social Care Act 2012

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 makes wide ranging changes to the organisational structure of the NHS, creating new organisations and abolishing others.

N3 is a prerequisite for access to national applications including Spine services, Choose and Book and NHSmail.  In order to maintain operational continuity through transition, N3 connectivity must be maintained for those systems reliant upon it, and ownership of existing connections must be migrated to the receiving organisation at the earliest possible opportunity.

As an existing or new N3 customer, you will be required to complete the activity below relevant to your organisation.

Please note:

All N3 customers must have the following in place before N3 services can be delivered:

  • Valid N3 Access Agreement
  • Appropriate Information Governance assurance
  • ODS organisation and site codes based on post April 2013 structure

Further information regarding these processes is shown in the relevant sections below.

N3 Services affected by the NHS re-structure

The N3 services which are affected by the re-structure are, in the main, services delivered to PCT sites which close on 31st March 2013. Unless these services are re-parented to another organisation, or ceased if they are no longer required, they will become orphaned. As a result, local management of orphaned services i.e. those services which are not allocated to a local organisation will be seriously impacted.

Please e-mail the N3 PMO: for a full list of N3 services affected by the NHS re-structure.

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Migration of GP Sites to new Organisations:

On 1st April, all existing N3 GP services will automatically be re-parented to the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) allocated by the NHS England.

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N3 CoINs which have a PCT as the lead organisation:

A number of N3 CoINs have Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) as their lead organisation and as PCTs will close on 31st March, a new lead organisation will need to be appointed to host the CoIN.  Lead organisations can either be an existing organisation i.e. Foundation Trusts or a new organisation i.e. Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), but must be a legal entity.  Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) are not able to hold CoIN contracts.

If you need further information on transferring a CoIN to a new lead organisation, please contact the N3 PMO:

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Re-use of existing N3 Connections:

In order to maintain continuity of service during and post transition, existing N3 services should, where possible, be re-used by a new organisation.  Ceases should not be raised for services required by a new organisation on the same site post transition.  The process for transferring these services is shown below.

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Organisations and Sites which are closing:

N3 connections for which you are responsible, and which will not be required post transition, will need to be ceased.  Cease requests should be raised via CRM and should include the appropriate closure date.

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New Organisations which are receiving an existing N3 Connection:

Emerging organisations which expect to receive an existing N3 service must complete a Request to Transfer Existing N3 Services form to ensure the existing N3 service is migrated to the new organisation.

Please note:  Services within N3 CoINs are being managed separately, it is not necessary to complete transfer requests for these services.

Before completing the form, please ensure the site receiving the N3 service has been registered with ODS and has a code which is valid in the new structure.  Both parent (organisation) and site codes are required before the transfer of N3 services can take place.  More information on obtaining ODS codes can be found below.

The transfer form can be downloaded here and completed submissions should be sent to:

It is the responsibility of receiving organisations to ensure that a valid N3 Access Agreement, appropriate Information Governance assurance and ODS site codes, based on the post April structure, are in place.

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New Organisations (NHS and non NHS) which require a new N3 Connection:

Any new organisations which are planning to operate and access N3 national applications and N3 dependent systems, but which will not be receiving an existing N3 service, must ensure that an N3 or Community of Interest (CoIN) connection is in place by April 2013, or the date by which access is required.

The ordering process for standard reference connections is shown on the N3 website, CoIN connections should be ordered by the CoIN lead organisation.

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Information Governance

The IG Statement of Compliance (IGSoC) process and IG Toolkit is a requirement with which N3 must comply and it is the responsibility of each organisation to have these in place before N3 services can be ordered and delivered.

As part of the authorisation process, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will have completed Information Governance assurance i.e. the IG Toolkit.  However in addition to this, CCGs must also complete the IGSoC process.

However, to ensure NHS organisations can order and manage their N3 services during and post transition, it has been agreed that Information Governance processes can be completed in parallel, rather than before, services are ordered or transferred.

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N3 Access Agreement - Expression of Interest

Please submit an e-mail to with Subject Header ‘N3 Access Agreement Request’. Your e-mail must include the full details of the company name and registered address. Please include your ODS code if known. We’ll then send you an N3 Access Agreement for you to sign and return.

Requests for CRM User logins are done in the same way by emailing the CRM team.  Please use 'CRM Access Request' as the subject of the e-mail.  A CCG may nominate another organisation to manage existing, and order new N3 connections on their behalf e.g. a CSU.  However, the N3 Access Agreement itself must be signed by an authorised signatory of the CCG, a CSU cannot sign an N3 Access Agreements on behalf of a CCG.

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ODS Codes post April 2013

Organisations must ensure that appropriate post transition ODS codes are registered as quickly as possible. N3 Services cannot be ordered by, or transferred to, a new organisation unless the site has been registered with an ODS code.

CCGs should nominate an ODS Organisation Codes Contact (OC1) who will be responsible for registering their sites and managing future ODS requirements. A CCG may choose to nominate a CSU to act in an OC1 capacity on their behalf.

Please note:

New CCG sites should be registered with the ODS team before the 30th April to ensure they are included in the ODS release on 17th May. Sites which do not meet the cut off date will not be included until the following release at the end of June.

Advice and guidance on the responsibilities of the (OC1) can be found here. The document also provides guidance around the process of requesting codes, priority (urgency) levels and the Helpdesk Service and response and resolution deadlines. We would request that you read this document fully.

More information on obtaining new ODS codes, can be found by contacting the National Help Desk Exeter by phoning 01392 251289 or emailing:

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Useful information

NHS England:

IG Statement of Compliance (IGSoC):

IG Toolkit:

ODS (Organisation Data Service):

N3 Website:

N3 Contacts:

Step-by Step guide to ordering N3:

N3 Helpdesk:  0800 085 0503 - Option 3

More information on N3 services and transition, contact the the Health and Social Care Information Centre N3 PMO:

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