The move comes as part of Secretary of State Matt Hancock’s longstanding technology vision, and the digital transformation reforms outlined as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
The NHSX remit is to cover:
- NHS digital policy
- Digital standards including around open source transparency and cybersecurity
- NHS computer system integration and reducing duplication
- Using digitisation to improve clinical care
- Reforming and integrating technology procurement
- Digital training of NHS staff
The new division will be accountable to the Secretary of State, but is also reported to be accountable to the leadership of NHS England and NHS Improvement. It will also need to coordinate with NHS Digital and the Government Digital Service.
“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”
– Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
However as the DHSC announcement highlights, “change has been slow because responsibility for digital, data and tech has been split across multiple agencies, teams and organisations”. With NHS England and NHS Improvement seeking closer alignment that potentially extending to statutory changes, it remains to be seen how effectively the addition of another body will help NHS transformation.