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NHSX appoints Matthew Gould as CEO - spend controls to be introduced?

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez April 4, 2019
NHSX is the new central digital unit for the National Health Service (NHS) and aims to mandate standards from the centre.

Photo of Matthew Gould
Matthew Gould, CEO of NHSX

The soon to be launched digital service for the NHS - NHSX - now has a new CEO, Matthew Gould, who will join the organisation in the summer. The Department for Health and Social Care has revealed that NHSX will assemble a “world-class team of technical experts”, including a yet to be named Chief Technology Officer.

Gould is currently the Director General for Digital and Media at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He was previously Director for Cyber Security at the Cabinet Office and is a fairly well known name in digital circles in Whitehall.

As CEO of NHSX, Gould will have strategic responsibility for setting the national direction on technology across Health and Social Care organisations.

NHSX CEO, Matthew Gould, said:

“Our single goal will be to improve the care that everyone in the country gets by making sure that both staff and patients have the technology they need.

“I will know I have succeeded if in 2 years we have reduced the crazy amount of time that clinicians spend inputting and accessing patient information, if we have given patients the tools so they can access information and services directly from their phones, and if we have started to build a system in which patient information can be securely accessed from wherever it is needed, ensuring safer and better care as patients move around the system, and saving patients from having to tell every doctor and nurse their story over and over again.”

NHSX was announced in February by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has made it his aim to overhaul technology use across the National Health Service.

Since being promoted to the position of Health Secretary, Hancock has released a technology strategy for the NHS, which focuses on open standards, interoperability, user-led design and a cloud-first approach.

Hancock has said that vendors that don’t comply with the new playbook for NHS tech will be phased out in the coming years.

The Department for Health and Social Care this week reaffirmed that commitment and said that NHSX will be responsible for mandating the user of “international recognised technology and data standards across the NHS to ensure all systems can talk to each other”.

Unsurprisingly comparisons are being made between the Government Digital Service (GDS) and NHSX, given that GDS also began as a central function, with a mandate to set standards and improve the use of technology across Whitehall.

Reports have also emerged this week that, much like GDS, NHSX will have responsibility for signing off new digital projects across the health service and that there will be the introduction of spend controls from the centre. It’s widely been acknowledged that one of GDS’s key tools for success in the early days was its ability to control spending of Whitehall departments from the centre - forcing them to rethink their approach.

According to HSJ, NHS suppliers and Commissioners will have to demonstrate to NHSX that they are meeting the new standards for interoperability and security before embarking on new projects.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged those wanting to work with NHSX to reach out and get in touch. He said:

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

I love the NHS – it has been there for all of us for more than 70 years and we owe the incredible doctors, nurses and care workers an enormous amount of gratitude for their dedication.

“NHSX will be led by the brilliant Matthew Gould, and will harness the full potential of technology to improve patient experience and make our NHS the very best it can be. Matthew has a wealth of experience in managing large digital projects and I am delighted to have him on board.

“I want to invite the very best talent to join NHSX. If you’re an innovator and you want to serve our society, I want to welcome you to join the growing band of HealthTech pioneers at NHSX who are going to be on a mission to harness technology to save lives. We want to invite brilliant people from government, NHS and industry will work closely with clinicians to cut through bureaucracy – meaning patients get access to the best innovations more quickly.

“NHSX is one of the most exciting things happening in the UK. It’s cutting edge, it’s mission driven and it’s about harnessing the best. This is just the beginning of the tech revolution, building on our NHS Long Term Plan to create leading health and care service – for us all.”

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