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Case Study

Manchester University
NHS Foundation Trust

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The Incom-CNS Group wins two coveted industry awards and deploys landmark, Mitel digital transformation project with a Private Cloud solution for 7200 users at leading women and children’s hospital, the Manchester Royal Infirmary.

  • Multi award-winning project
  • Private Cloud solution
  • 7200 IP users
  • Resilient virtual network
  • Future-proof solution
  • Optimised efficiency
  • Significant cost savings
  • Enhanced functionality for users
  • Integration with third party applications


The Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) treats over 1 million people every year and is one of the world’s leading Women and Children’s hospitals. As part of the publicly run Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), they have a seven-year life cycling policy for their telephony system. Their existing system had come to the end of this life cycle and MFT approached the Incom-CNS Group with the requirement for an upgraded, reliable, cost-effective solution which would future proof them for at least the next seven years and incorporate any new capacity or feature demands they may have during that time.

The MFT has been a customer of Incom-CNS for over a decade and the existing system at the MRI had been installed by Incom-CNS seven years earlier. At the time, it was a state-of-the-art healthcare communications solution, made up of 23 networked telephone systems, supporting 7200 analogue and digital extensions. However, the system was reliant on a cabling network and had been subject to a major failure when the cabling was damaged by a leak, which meant all telephones, including the switchboard, were out of action for four hours. Priority for the new solution was to provide assured continuity of service by moving away from a cabled network to an IP environment which was fully backed up. The hospital needed a system which would improve Operator function and be resilient enough to enable them to continue to deliver critical services, at all times.


The MRI solution, designed and implemented by the Incom-CNS team, was Mitel’s largest Private Cloud project across Europe, at the time – migrating 7200 users to IP Telephony. The existing 23 networked systems were replaced with a Mitel MiVoice Business solution across two, on-site data centres, providing a fully backed up, virtualised environment. The existing HP network, which supports the voice network, was upgraded to improve resiliency, increase capacity for the IP Telephony roll-out and future-proof the telephony estate in an ever-changing public healthcare environment. The solution included a new Mitel Contact Centre (MiCC), Voicemail system and DECT, as well as integration with 3rd party applications including, Vocera (Clinical Communications), VST Voice Activated Directory, BTS switchboard solution with call recording and Multitone paging system. Incom-CNS migrated the MRI from 18 BT Featurenet links to 500 channels of Gamma SIP Trunks.

The Incom-CNS team won double honours at the Comms National Awards for their work at the MRI, scooping Best Enterprise Cloud Solution and the ultimate industry prize, Enterprise Reseller of the Year.


The Incom-CNS project team worked behind the scenes for 18 months designing the next phase for the resilient network and building the virtual environment. During this period, 90 extra switches were installed to the existing HP network to accommodate an additional 5500 IP handsets. Each comms room location was designated its own VLAN(s), which separated every comms room location into its own distinct ‘fault domain’; in this way, faults can be isolated and not affect other areas of the hospital. This made the network highly resilient whereby, in the event of a serious network issue, ie a broadcast storm, the other switches would continue to operate as normal with no loss of service for the rest of the network.

Once the network upgrade was complete, the installation was carefully managed to ensure continuity of service for critical applications, including voicemail and messaging. The solution was deployed in a phased approach, starting with a beta group of 254 users who were migrated to the new Private Cloud first, to gauge timescales and procedures for the roll out to all 7200 users. During the implementation across the whole estate, each department was given time to transition to the new system without suffering any lack of service. The deployment also involved the project team working closely with external suppliers to integrate a number of third-party applications. This included Vocera communication badge, a voice activated device, worn on the lapel, which instantly and securely connects healthcare professionals to the main directory, allowing them to quickly locate colleagues and summon help in an emergency. Throughout the project, there was no loss of service reported to MFT by any department of the hospital and the total roll-out of the solution was successfully achieved within the 12-month target timeframe.

“During the planning and deployment stage, The Trust found Incom-CNS to be responsive and hard-working. On-site engineers were flexible, keeping disruption to a minimum, which was vital given the critical nature of the working environment.”

Mike Beevers, Head of PFI Contract and Commercial Planning, MFT


The MRI benefits from an advanced business communications platform that delivers lower total cost of ownership and has resulted in substantial savings across system management, maintenance and engineering costs. Mitel offers its customers Software Assurance, whereby system software is updated, typically every 12 to 18 months, free of charge, for the lifetime of the system.

An extremely high level of resilience was built into the solution at the hospital to prevent any single point of failure and allow critical functions to continue to operate, at all times. From isolated switches across the HP network, to 500 channels of SIP, split equally between two live nodes in case of failure; this is the ultimate, self-healing network.

MFT opted for enhanced functionality of ACD, call recording and call reporting. The system also includes NHS specific features, such as automatic emailing of any emergency 2222 calls to relevant parties, plus full back-up to prevent any major outages to the system. The flexible solution allows future upgrades and enhancements as they may be required, including the likely addition of Unified Communications, where staff could benefit from instant messaging, presence and desk phone functionality on mobiles and softphones.

The Incom-CNS Group has built a strong reputation as the go-to communications partner in the healthcare sector. The award-winning solution at the MRI has been used as a blueprint for other hospitals in the Manchester area, resulting in the effective networking of hospitals, making huge savings for the NHS.

Mike Beevers, Head of PFI Contract
and Commercial Planning, Manchester
University NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Incom-CNS and considers them an important partner. The Mitel solution they provided as part of the upgrade has met our requirements, provided the increased resilience required for our critical services and provides a platform for future enhancements.

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