The government has announced a newly formed organisation NHSX to oversee digital, data and technology.
The new unit will effectively take a position above NHS Digital, who is believed will continue with its current remit.
NHSX will take forward digital transformation in the NHS, allowing patients and staff to benefit from the latest digital systems and technology. It will combine the best talent from government, the NHS and industry to help create the most advanced health and care service in the world to diagnose diseases earlier, free up staff time and empower patients to take greater control of their own healthcare.
NHSX’s responsibilities will include:
- setting national policy and developing best practice for NHS technology, digital and data – including data-sharing and transparency
- setting standards – developing, agreeing and mandating clear standards for the use of technology in the NHS
- ensuring that NHS systems can talk to each other across the health and care system
- helping to improve clinical care by delivering agile, user-focused projects
- supporting the use of new technologies by the NHS, both by working with industry and via its own prototyping and development capability
- ensuring that common technologies and services, including the NHS App, are designed so that trusts and surgeries don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time
- making sure that all source code is open by default so that anyone who wants to write code for the NHS can see what we need
- reforming procurement – helping the NHS buy the right technology through the application of technology standards, streamlined spend controls and new procurement frameworks that support our standards
- setting national strategy and mandating cyber security standards, so that NHS and social care systems have security designed in from the start
- championing and developing digital training, skills and culture so our staff are digital-ready
- delivering an efficient process for technology spend, domain name management and website security
The CEO of NHSX will have strategic responsibility for setting the national direction on technology across organisations. The CEO will be accountable to the Health Secretary and chief executives of NHS England and NHS Improvement.
NHSX will work closely with the Government Digital Service and other central government functions to learn from their experiences and ensure there is continued alignment with the Digital, Data and Technology profession across government.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Modern technology has an incredible potential to change people’s lives for the better and revolutionise the care they receive.”
“Because I care about patients getting the best treatment, I care about the NHS getting the best technology. But everyone knows how hard it’s been to get the NHS to adopt the best in digital. We’ve set out a clear tech vision for the NHS, which underpins our NHS Long Term Plan. 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.”
“NHSX will combine some of the best minds from among the NHS, leading innovators, and government into one unit to set national policy, remove red tape and create a culture of innovation to allow the best innovations to flourish.”
“This is just the beginning of the tech revolution, building on our Long Term Plan to create a predictive, preventative and unrivalled NHS.”
Sarah Wilkinson, chief executive of NHS Digital, said: “The NHS Long Term Plan describes a hugely ambitious vision for the next generation of the NHS and much of that vision depends on new digital, data and technology capabilities. The program of digital transformation ahead of us is extraordinary in terms of its scale, its complexity and the extent to which it can change lives.”
“It will require sophisticated strategic planning, strong leadership and very tight partnership between organisations across the system. This new joint venture between the organisations who currently define digital strategy and commission digital services will create cohesion in these activities by concentrating work and capabilities in one unit.”
“Within NHS Digital we view NHSX as an important and welcome initiative and we are absolutely committed to working closely with colleagues in NHSX to make this new venture a success.”