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NHS Midlands & Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit


MLCSU provides end-to-end support to health systems and employs 1,600 staff.

Fifty clinical commissioning groups, covering one quarter of England’s population with a total healthcare spend of £13.5billion, nine sustainability and transformation partnerships, and diverse clients from the public sector and government already benefits from its expertise.

MLCSU’s Business Intelligence team has many key performance indicators with short timescales, so needs a reliant, resilient system operating every day of the year, with data stored in one environment and managed collectively. Migration to a new infrastructure would have to be smooth as business continuity is crucial for both the CSU and its clients.

LIMA + MLCSU = Secure scalable platforms for quality patient care

LIMA’s flexible approach to adapting to our changing requirements was key to the project’s success. Resources were allocated to the CSU but the manner in which they are to be consumed continues to be regularly adjusted, highlighting the depth of LIMA’s multi-skilled team. LIMA’s project management team were able to continually respond to this challenge and the LIMA online support portal and 24/7 service desk kept us regularly updated on the progress of each deployment.
— Kevin Roberts, Development Manager (Business Intelligence), MLCSU
Our teams worked well together and the end result has given us the additional functionality, scalability and resilience we sought.
— Kevin Roberts, Development Manager (Business Intelligence), MLCSU

Results at a glance

Physical system migration

Secure connectivity via HSCN with Advanced security solutions

Flexible cloud services for on demand requirements

Proactive 24 x 7 Support

Delivering our Four-Cornered Methodology


Understanding specific challenges

MLCSU required the migration of infrastructure, under a managed service through HPE and Microsoft, from a Birmingham datacentre to LIMA’s datacentre in Manchester.  The two racks of physical Server and Storage infrastructure host key applications to deliver out services to employees, customers and ultimately patients. 

There were two important aspects to planning the migration:

  1. Ensuring availability was maintained to customer’s IT services at all times.  The initial phase of the project required close collaboration between LIMA’s Solutions Architects and the third party managed service providers.
  2. To maintain security at all times.  Patient data must be transmitted across the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN formerly known as N3) which needed to be commissioned from LIMA’s cloud platform.
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Identifying the right technology

LIMA proposed an IAAS resource pool from our hosted platform. Consuming our cloud services this way helps to lower overall costs in comparison to dedicated VMs and also offers much more flexibility in migration and ongoing management. The platform is built on Tier 1 Vendor technology with advanced software defined security components central to protecting critical patient data for MLCSU.

In addition to the physical security provided by the caged racking, sophisticated firewall configurations were required in order to meet the requirements of NHS Digital compliance.  Secure multi tenancy guarantee’s the CSU’s data is protected and separate from other cloud customers.

LIMA delivered a tiered storage model providing high performance disk for key applications and low cost high capacity disk for archive and backup.

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Providing the right support

The MLCSU team have access to 24x7 support from the LIMA Service Desk.  Tickets are raised and managed through our online portal ensuring that all stakeholders have live access to the status of any support tickets.

MLCSU’s ProActive support includes ongoing Release Management to ensure software is up-to-date and running as efficiently as possible and MLCSU are able to make use of the latest feature enhancements and capabilities.  We manage, plan, schedule and control software and firmware releases of the same version on the agreed configuration items, in line with our Safe Harbour Release Policy.

LIMA also provide Change Management to MLCSU through their ProActive support contract.  ITIL recognises that approximately 70-80% of incidents are caused by poorly controlled change.  The LIMA Change Authority Board meets twice weekly to review changes and act as a level of quality assurance to approve or reject a change.  We use a change management lifecycle to assess risk and business impact of making changes within an IT environment in order to ensure best practice methods and procedures are used when making changes.

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Evaluating infrastructure for ongoing efficiency

MLCSU were looking for cost efficiency as well as technical excellence in order to deliver performance and availability to their own customers. The ability to use the self-service portals to almost instantly increase resources within the IAAS Resource pool gives MLCSU the agility it needs to respond quickly to employees and its own customers’ needs. The CSU also benefits from automated utilisation reports to help control costs and usage across the platforms as well as capacity and budget planning for future.

LIMA’s Pulse Monitoring Service provides complete visibility of infrastructure performance across MLCSU’s physical and virtual environments.  LIMA customise alert thresholds to ensure we can provide an on-going health assessment proactively triage any incidents before they become critical problems.  We provide tailored monthly reports to relay the most pertinent data for system utilisation, performance and availability for the last 30 days.  Our monthly Service Delivery meetings review the PULSE reports so that we can work together with our customer to prepare for future requirements.

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