New ‘NHSX’ unit will lead health service digital transformation

20 February 2019

A new government division called NHSX has just been unveiled, and will be led by its own chief executive. It will be tasked with accelerating the digital transformation of the UK NHS.

The new unit aims to accelerate the uptake of commercial technology in partnership with the private sector, with the promise of combining “the best talent from government, the NHS and industry”.

The division's creation is a product of Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock’s frustration at the slow pace of digital uptake.

“Because I care about patients getting the best treatment, I care about the NHS getting the best technology,” Hancock said. “Now we’re bringing together the tech leadership into NHSX, which will be responsible for harnessing the true potential of technology to transform care, save lives, free up clinicians’ time and empower patients to take greater control of their own health.”

The organisation will use experts in technology, digital, data and cyber security to deliver on the both Hancock's tech vision and the Long Term Plan for the NHS.

NHSX’s responsibilities will be broad, including defining national policy and best practice, ensuring enhanced interoperability between IT platforms, and reforming procurement.

The search for a chief executive of NHSX will now begin, who will be given strategic responsibility for deciding the national direction on technology across organisations, and will report to health secretary and chief executives of NHS England and NHS Improvement.

However, not everyone has been enthusiastic about the creation of this new unit. Scepticism has been raised on social media from digital experts. “Will post a full thread later. But let’s just say I don’t envy the new chief exec of NHSX – sounds like a governance nightmare,” tweeted Harry Aagard Evans from the King’s Fund.



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