RCP hails ambition of government's new digital NHSX unit

Responding to the government's announcement that it would be creating a new unit to oversee digital transformation of the health and care system, RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard welcomed the ambition to deliver 'coordination and consistency across the NHS'.

The new NHSX department will bring together the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement to 'bring the benefits of modern technology to every patient and clinician'. It will also have 'oversight' of NHS Digital.

Discussing the announcement, Professor Goddard said:

We welcome the ambition set out today to deliver coordination and consistency across the NHS. It’s all too common for clinicians to waste precious time engaging with multiple systems and logins that do not join up – today should be the start of a determined effort to change that.

Digital transformation should be focused on improving experiences for patients, supporting NHS staff and implementing true interoperability to improve and integrate care.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock added:

Modern technology has an incredible potential to change people’s lives for the better and revolutionise the care they receive.

[...] 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.

The statement said that 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.