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This week the new interim chief executive of NHS Digital addressed the board publicly for the first time since he took on the role, stating one of his key priorities was to fix the organisation’s relationship with NHSX and NHS England.
It’s not a surprise that the three units haven’t worked that well together in the past, although the new interim CEO being so publicly candid within his first month of taking on the role is unusual.
Simon Bolton said the working relationship between the three organisations “could be better” and he would be working with system leaders, including chief executive of NHSX Matthew Gould to “establish how they can work collaboratively in a more aligned way”.
The admission validates concerns raised in 2019 when NHSX was first launched – that the creation of a new unit would make bureaucracy in the health tech industry even more deep-rooted.
Mr Bolton said: “We haven’t always been aligned in what we were trying to achieve and I passionately believe that we are part of a single team trying to achieve a single set of objectives.
“We need to be working like we are in the same team, score in the same goal, have the same set of objectives.”
Into the breach
An interim CEO has been named for Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust amid its ongoing scrutiny from NHS England over governance issues.
The former Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust chief executive Tony Chambers is stepping in next month, when outgoing CEO Kate Shields joins Cornwall and Isles of Scilly integrated care system.
The Royal Cornwall trust is currently subject to “voluntary undertakings” agreed with NHS England after governance issues came to light – first reported by HSJ – including inappropriate payments being made to board members.
RCHT was also criticised last winter by the Care Quality Commission for a spate of never events occurring in 2020.
Mr Chambers, who began his career in the NHS as a nurse, led Countess of Chester Hospital FT for six years before departing in 2018.