The UK government has announced that a new joint unit, NHSX, will be created to take forward digital transformation in
the NHS. The new organisation will combine the best talent from government, the
NHS and industry to provide the most advanced health and care service in the
NHSX aims to bring the benefits of modern technology to every patient and clinician, such as diagnosing diseases earlier, freeing up staff time and empowering patients to take greater control of their own healthcare.
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At present, the NHS relies on technologies mostly designed for a pre-internet age. Patients therefore are not getting the care they need because their data does not follow them round the system.
Furthermore, change has been slow because responsibility for digital, data and tech has been split across multiple agencies, teams and organisations. NHSX will change this by bringing together all the levers of policy, implementation and change for the first time.
NHSX will work with the NHS and the wider digital economy to deliver on the Health Secretary's tech vision and the Long Term Plan for the NHS.
"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," Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
"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."
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
- 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
- Championing and developing digital training, skills and culture so our staff are digital-ready
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.