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NHS network blamed for lack of speed

Connecting for Health has admitted the new national N3 network is one cause of slow broadband speeds in some practices.

When GPs first raised the issue last week (News, 30 November), the agency blamed the way PCTs were prioritising services locally for the slow speeds.

But Professor Mike Pringle, joint GP clinical lead, has conceded that in a few cases the network itself is the source of the problem. Professor Pringle said the issue will be on the agenda of the next meeting of Connecting for Health's GP Pan Users Group in January.

Most practices have a 1MB connection to N3. The low bandwidth available to GPs means some practices have faced delays when trying to open e-mails or do simple internet searches.

Some GPs have demanded an upgrade to a 2MB network.

Professor Pringle, said: 'Many practices are experiencing delays in performance of some Connecting for Health products. We need to establish exactly what the cause of this is and it does appear that in a few cases the cause is N3 itself.'

He added: 'There are many other reasons why systems may be running slow and we need to make sure that all those are understood and dealt with.'

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