NHS England moves ahead with tech restructure

Sam Fried

Interim arrangements have been revealed for the NHS England’s new transformational directorate, which will incorporate tech bodies NHSX and NHS Digital. In guidance, seen by Healthcare IT News, NHS England (NHSE) director of transformation, Tim Ferris says they will be “retiring the NHSX brand very soon.” NHSX chief executive officer […]

Interim arrangements have been revealed for the NHS England’s new transformational directorate, which will incorporate tech bodies NHSX and NHS Digital.

In guidance, seen by Healthcare IT News, NHS England (NHSE) director of transformation, Tim Ferris says they will be “retiring the NHSX brand very soon.”

NHSX chief executive officer (CEO) Matthew Gould will remain national director for digital transformation and as a director general within Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) with oversight of the joint digital policy and strategy team. 

Meanwhile, interim NHS Digital CEO Simon Bolton will take the role of interim NHS chief information officer (CIO). Bolton will work with NHS Digital and NHSX’s chief technology officer (CTO) Dave Turner and CIO Sonia Patel, whose functions will come together. 

Teams across NHS Improvement, Innovation, Research, and Life Sciences (IRLS), NHS Digital and NHSX will be brought together where staff are working on the same projects or there are clear synergies between portfolios.

WHY IT MATTERS

The restructuring is being aligned with the wider integration programme to bring NHSE, NHS Improvement, NHS Digital, NHSX and Health Education England together as a single organisation. This follows a review by NHS Digital chair Laura Wade-Gery, which recommended a more coherent approach to digital transformation within the NHS.

Ferris said the new arrangements aimed to support the NHS and social care through the ongoing pandemic and allow staff “to work together even more closely so that we are best placed to help patients, service users and our frontline colleagues.”

THE LARGER CONTEXT

NHSE recently set out plans in its 2022/2023 priorities and operations planning guidance, to use lessons from the COVID-19 crisis to level up digital maturity.

It pledged to “rapidly and consistently adopt new models of care that exploit the full potential of digital technologies” in line with the NHS long term plan to ensure health and care systems have a core level of digitalisation by March 2025.

The planning guidance encourages GPs to promote the NHS app and NHS.UK, with the goal of reaching 60% registration by March 2023.

It also sets out the ambition for all patients to have access to digital-first primary care online by 2023/4 with the aim of the NHS e-referral system becoming the health sector triage, referral and booking system by 2025.

Another key priority is ensuring providers of community health services, including independent providers commissioned by integrated care systems (ICSs), can access local shared care records in 2022/3, to enable urgent care response and virtual wards.

ON THE RECORD

Ferris said: “I know the hard work that NHSX colleagues have put in to help local health and care organisations to digitise their services, connect the health and social care systems through technology and to transform the way patients’ care is delivered, and I will be joining Matthew Gould and NHSX colleagues shortly to recognise their achievements.”

https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/emea/nhs-england-moves-ahead-tech-restructure

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