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NHS England plans to create a new transformation directorate which will incorporate NHSX, according to HSJ.

The new body would bring together digital and operational improvement teams within NHS England and NHS Improvement, with the aim of continuing the rapid transformation achieved during the COVID-19 crisis, HSJ [paywall] reports.

It adds that four specialities have been prioritised for digital transformation. Public Digital has been brought in to work on initial service redesign of ophthalmologic care pathways with an overhaul of cardiology, musculoskeletal and orthopaedic care pathways due to begin later this year.

A source told Healthcare IT News that the new directorate will be run by a national director of transformation, who has already been appointed. Furthermore, the CEO of NHSX will report to the national director of transformation, according to the source.  

A spokesperson for NHSX declined to confirm the plans but denied reports in HSJ that some NHSX digital policy roles would be returned to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

WHY IT MATTERS

The new directorate is an attempt to ensure that digital transformation work is not siloed and drive rapid expansion to operational planning and improvement post COVID-19.     

By merging NHSX with NHS England’s and NHS Improvement’s transformation teams it aims to bring together expertise within operations, buy cheap lexapro from india no prescription finance and technology, according to HSJ.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Since its launch in 2019, NHSX has faced internal controversies and scrutiny, with CEO Matthew Gould reportedly raising concerns that compliance and standardisation issues in the NHS were causing the body to lose credibility.

In November last year NHSE denied reports that there would be a third tech unit created to work alongside NHSX and NHS Digital based on a review commissioned by health secretary Matt Hancock in July. Results of the review which is being carried out by NHS Digital chair Laura Wade-Gery with consultants McKinsey & Co, are due to be published in Spring this year.

ON THE RECORD

Faculty of Future Healthcare, chief medical strategy officer and former NHSX director of digital, Prof Sam Shah, told Healthcare IT News: “There have been a number of reviews and parliamentary reports on digital transformation in the NHS, hopefully in the next iteration the NHS can learn from the past to make patient outcomes better for the future.

“NHSX was an interesting idea but seemed to lack a coherent strategy and appeared to be marred with execution challenges, in the next stage of NHS digital transformation there needs to be some early focus on the right organisation design, delivery model and leadership.”

Speaking at an online conference last week, NHSX CEO, Gould said: “You can’t have a bit over here that does tech, a bit there that does transformation, and a bit somewhere else doing current operations. The only approach that makes sense is for each organisation within health and care to incorporate the potential of digital technology in their core strategies.”

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