NHSX on the hunt for Chief Technology Officer - Salary £131,000+

Profile picture for user ddpreez By Derek du Preez October 24, 2019
The National Health Service’s newly formed technology unit - NHSX - officially opened for business back in July.

Image of NHSX logo

NHSX - the National Health Service’s recently created central digital unit, which has been tasked with overhauling technology use across the health system - is on the hunt for a Chief Technology Officer (CTO). 

The job post for the role claims that NHSX is leading the “largest digital health and social care transformation programme in the world”, with an investment of more than £1 billion a year nationally and a “significant spend locally”. 

The CTO will command a salary of over £131,000 and will work directly for NHSX CEO, Matthew Gould, who was appointed to head up the organisation back in April. Gould was previously the Director General for Digital and Media at DCMS and prior to that the Director for Cyber Security at the Cabinet Office. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced NHSX in February of this year and has also 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 CTO will have overall responsibility for defining and delivering the internet-based technical architecture for the NHS and Social Care, especially focusing on creating a “federated data ecosystem”. 

The job listing states:

You will work closely with NHS Digital, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England and NHS improvement colleagues to agree the technical architecture for the NHS and to ensure that technology capabilities are fit for purpose to meet the needs of the health and care system.

An in depth understanding of the internet stack, and experience of developing or managing a large API-based architecture is essential, as well as an in depth understanding of modern software and web development practices and experience of leading software or web/internet engineering teams and running or overseeing a development environment.

Strong leadership is also key to this role, as well as high quality strategic and systemic thinking. Together with the ability to build credibility and work collaboratively with leaders in NHS England to ensure resources are aligned behind strategic and operational delivery of objectives.

For those interested in the role and wishing to apply, the advert for the job can be found here

Progress made

Since launch, NHSX wasted no time in exercising its new central powers and completed a major review of NHS tech spending, where it also reduced centrally funded tech programmes from 30 to 10. 

CEO Gould has also outlined the top delivery missions for NHSX. These include: 

  • reducing the burden on clinicians and staff, so they can focus on patients

  • giving people the tools to access information and services directly

  • ensuring clinical information can be safely accessed, wherever it is needed

  • aiding the improvement of patient safety across the NHS

  • improving NHS productivity with digital technology

Gould has argued that NHSX needs to remain as ‘thin’ as possible - not building too much and allowing others to create on and use its platforms. He has said:

First, we’re going to focus on standards and platforms, keeping the centre as ‘thin’ as possible. This is how the internet works and it’s the only way we will ever be able to be able to transform an organisation as large as the NHS.

Standards are the common technical and semantic rules that everyone agrees on in order to participate in a system. Plug sockets are a standard, URLs for web pages are a standard. In the NHS standards are essential for delivering interoperability, so essential diagnostic information gets to where it’s needed. Standards also mean we can more easily ‘plug in’ new digital services once they’ve been invented.

But we don’t want to build many digital services ourselves. There are plenty of clinicians, charities, start-ups and NHS trusts that can do a much better job of designing new services than we can at the centre. Instead, as I’ve previously blogged, we will focus on creating platforms that other innovators can build on.

Image credit - Image sourced via NHSX

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