Data Driven Futures

Health secretary names NHSX chief exec

Written by Peter Walker

The secretary of state for health and social care has admitted that the NHS technology the systems of the past “haven’t been good enough” and promised to upgrade healthcare via the government’s new NHSX organisation.

Speaking at a Royal Society of Medicine event yesterday, Matt Hancock said that he has made it his mission to get the best technology available into the NHS.

“I’ve tried to eliminate outdated, old tech like fax machines, pagers, and dial-up because the wrong tech can make life more difficult for our NHS staff,” he stated.

“We must drive innovation and improvement across the NHS, combining the best of the healthcare culture with the best of the tech culture, seeking continuous improvement to save and improve lives.”

Hancock committed to ensuring promising prototypes don’t get stuck in endless pilots, that successful ideas spread from one hospital to another, and building systems that can talk to each other and new developers can build on.

All of this would be part of the new joint organisation for digital, data and technology. From July, NHSX will mandate the use of internationally-recognised technology and data standards across the NHS to ensure all systems can talk to each other.

Matthew Gould has been named chief executive of NHSX and will join the organisation in the summer, along with a new chief technology officer.

Gould is currently the director general for digital and media at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He was previously director for cyber security at the Cabinet Office.

He will have strategic responsibility for setting the national direction on technology across health and social care organisations.

Hancock explained that to test a new way of working, tech experts from NHSX will be embedded in national cancer, mental health and urgent care teams to bring the benefits of modern technology to every patient, clinician and carer.

“We will empower the best digital minds in the NHS, and create an ecosystem where HealthTech entrepreneurs are actually excited about working with this innovative, creative, forward-thinking organisation called the NHS,” he stated. “And the needs of our users will be at the heart of everything we do because the ‘X’ in NHSX stands for user experience.”

Hancock continued: “For too many staff, outdated NHS tech is a hindrance rather than a help, it takes up time rather than saves time - and I understand the frustration - I know the systems of the past haven’t been good enough.”