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East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

27 April 2020

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Using a 'think customer' approach to enhance the health worker and patient experience



East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) provides acute and community health services through two district general hospitals, and several additional hospitals and facilities serving the East Sussex region. With a patient-first philosophy and a vision to provide safe, compassionate and high-quality care, in 2015/16 the trust treated 130,000 emergency and minor injury patients, provided more than 380,000 outpatient appointments and delivered more than 3,300 babies.

Through its ESHT 2020 vision, the trust is focused on further improving the quality of its care. By listening to stakeholders including staff, patients, inspectors and regulators, it is building the mechanisms through which to deliver change and continuous improvement, with the goal of becoming a high-performing organisation by 2020.


As part of its vision to become outstanding, the Trust had recognised a need to improve the provision of secure and robust VPN and guest Wi-Fi services. Within the NHS, many non-clinical services including IT can be overseen or provided via Commissioning Support Units (CSUs), but after initial discussions the Trust felt it would achieve the optimum results through direct private-sector partnership.

Essential to the security of the improved guest and VPN offering would be a next-generation firewall estate, protecting the internet breakout point. After identifying Palo Alto Networks (PAN) as its preferred technology provider, ESHT was referred to Ideal as a Palo Alto Networks Platinum Partner, capable of providing, configuring and supporting the necessary technology.

Ideal Solution

After gaining an initial understanding of the technical and business context, Ideal’s account manager assembled a team that would ensure a best-fit solution for the requirements, and provide a seamless transition into the management and implementation of the project deliverables.


In the pre-sales phase, led by our consultant, the initial focus was on gaining a more in-depth understanding of the trust’s IT objectives and challenges, ensuring that the project goals, options and client choices were established in the context of ESHT’s wider strategic objectives. Challenges and complexities were identified and addressed, before a project plan was developed and presented for agreement with the customer.

It’s been good to deal with a company that hasn’t taken a hard-push sales approach, and has listened to our requirements, and then worked with us to find the best methods to meet our needs. I’m very happy to say that it’s been a refreshing change after some of the previous supplier relationships we’ve had.

Even with ESHT having to move dates for certain aspects of the project, we’ve still met the goals required. So far, for our first project with Ideal, this has been an excellent experience. I look forward to continuing to work with Ideal into the future.

Dan Lloyd, senior infrastructure engineer, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust


Through scoping, planning, delivery and completion, the project became a textbook example of a successful deployment. Throughout, the client was impressed by Ideal’s high service levels, its flexibility and technical expertise, and its clear focus on understanding and satisfying the trust’s own objectives. By the completion of the project it was clear to ESHT that in Ideal it had found a technology partner it could trust to offer strategic advice and support across the gamut of its IT operations.

Ideal’s investment in building a relationship with ESHT, and the communication, clarity and professionalism with which it delivered this project have helped build a fledgling relationship into a strategic partnership. Ideal has since provided expert consultancy, including detailed work enabling the client to discount the network as a factor in performance issues affecting a proprietary medical imaging system.

Why Ideal?

Ideal operates a ‘think customer’ philosophy, in which the emphasis is on building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships through a focus on understanding client objectives, and achieving them through excellent customer experience. Importantly, to an NHS trust focused on improving patient services and looking to maximise the effectiveness of its IT spend, Ideal places integrity and customer relationships at the heart of its business.

As a Palo Alto Networks Platinum Partner, and as the first UK partner to complete the required steps for specialisation in the Traps endpoint protection solution, Ideal has the expertise to sell, configure and support PAN’s next-generation security portfolio.


Looking for a healthier relationship with your IT partner? Contact the Ideal sales team on 01273 957500, or get in touch online.


Header image: Dark Pulse, by darkday/Flickr, Creative Commons