Proposed plans will see NHSX merged into ‘transformation directorate’

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The CEO of NHSX has said reported proposals to create a ‘transformation directorate’ within the NHS is a “positive step” towards digital transformation.

A report in the Health Service Journal (HSJ) claimed there are proposals to “create a new transformation directorate” which will include NHSX and others.

According to HSJ, the aim of the directorate “is an attempt to ensure the transformation work is not siloed”. This follows a review into NHS technology services, dubbed the “Wade-Gery Review” which is yet to be published.

Headed up by Laura Wade-Gery, the chair of NHS Digital, the review was launched to determine the critical capabilities and digital operating model needed across the three national bodies to drive the digital system transformation envisaged in the NHS Long Term Plan.

In a statement, NHSX CEO Matthew Gould said the plans “are still subject to full approval by the Department for Health and Social Care and HM Treasury”.

“This is a hugely positive step for our goal of digital transformation across the NHS and social care sector,” he added.

“The proposal would do what we in NHSX have been advocating and demonstrating – taking digital out of its silo and putting it at the heart of the NHS and social care.

“Our work carries on. NHSX will continue to champion digital transformation as a joint unit of DHSC and NHS England, and no functions are transferring out of NHSX or back to the Department.”

NHS Digital to help support ICS introduction

The reports of a transformation directorate follow news that NHS Digital is to be included in a list of health bodies that will have a duty to collaborate with other organisations to support the introduction of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs).

Last week, documents published in Health Policy Insight revealed plans to introduce legislature which would ensure every part of England would be covered by an ICS in a bid to ensure more joined-up care, better integration, and reduced bureaucracy.

However, also included in the paper were proposals to “place a reciprocal duty to collaborate on NHS organisations and local authorities”.

“We intend for this single duty to collaborate to replace the two current duties to cooperate in legislation to support our wider ICS policy, where we expect local authority and NHS bodies to work together under one system umbrella,” the paper adds.

Included in the list of health bodies the “duty” will apply to are:

  • NHS England
  • ICSs
  • NHS Trusts
  • NHS Foundation Trusts
  • Special Health Authorities
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
  • Health and Social Care Information Centre (NHS Digital)
  • Health Education England (HEE)
  • Upper Tier Local Authorities

NHS Digital is also mentioned under the data sharing heading, with the paper saying the proposals will see changes made to NHS Digital’s legal framework which will “introduce a duty” on the organisation “to have regard to the benefit to the health and social care system of sharing data that it holds when exercising its functions; and clarify the purposes for which it can use data”.


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