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NHSX and NHS Digital to merge with NHS England

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UK health bosses have announced plans to merge NHSX and NHS Digital into NHS England and Improvements (NHSE/I).

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said the merger will improve co-operation between the key digital bodies of the NHS by bringing them under one roof for the first time.

This comes following a recommendation by Laura Wade-Gery, non-executive director at NHS England and chair of NHS Digital.

She said by merging these three organisations with NHSE/I, the government and the NHS are ensuring the health and care sector is fully equipped to face the future and deliver for patients.

“In the rest of our lives, digital has really changed how we live and we must now make this true in healthcare. The goal of my review is to equip the national centre with the right capability to support Integrated Care Systems to deliver better citizen health.

“We need to have the culture, operating model, skills, capabilities and processes to put data, digital and technology at the heart of how we transform health services.”

Interim CEO of NHS Digital, Simon Bolton, said the changes will better support the recovery of NHS services, address waiting list backlogs, and support hardworking staff, all while driving forwards an ambitious agenda of digital transformation and progress.

“The use of technology and data across health and care has been vital in managing the pandemic, and essential to supporting the frontline and ensuring care can continue to be delivered.

“From the vaccine roll out to identifying and protecting the most vulnerable to coronavirus, I am extremely proud of everything we have achieved during this challenging period, in close collaboration with our partners, which has made a real and valuable impact for the public.

“Now we will build on this progress as one organisation, accelerating the digitally enabled transformation of the NHS and improving it, both for its staff and the people it serves at the time they are most in need.”

Chief executive of NHSX, Matthew Gould, said: “For the past two years, NHSX has been making the case for digital transformation in the NHS, and for digital to be integrated within the NHS rather than kept in its own silo.

“This reorganisation is the culmination of that campaign. It is an excellent step – a more coherent structure that will allow us to accelerate digital transformation across health and care.

“It comes after two years in which NHSX, NHS Digital and the NHS and social care frontline have together made extraordinary progress - from allowing the NHS to move to remote working and consultations in the heat of the pandemic, to introducing virtual wards and remote monitoring of patients at home, to building the tech to underpin the vaccine rollout and the NHS COVID Pass.”

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