• NHS England recruiting another substantial senior appointment
  • Move follows call from senior government adviser to beef up CCIO role across NHS
  • CCIO is one of three new roles which are part of significant restructure of NHS England’s tech team

NHS England is looking to recruit a chief clinical information officer, in the latest part of a significant restructure of its informatics and technology top team, HSJ has learned.

Two senior NHS sources have confirmed the plans to HSJ for a national CCIO, stating that the intention is to make an appointment as soon as possible.

It is not yet clear exactly what the job specification will be, but the move appears to signal NHS England’s intention to push the CCIO agenda from the top.

The position is one of three new senior technology positions NHS England is recruiting for, with searches already under way for a chief technology and information office and a director of digital experience.

HSJ understands work done so far by US “digital doctor” Robert Wachter, whose review of the NHS’s digital capabilities is set to be published later this year, has been a contributing factor to the decision to recruit a national CCIO.

As exclusively revealed by HSJ in February, Professor Wachter is pushing for a significant rethink of the CCIO role in the NHS.

He said: “I do think [the role of CCIOs and how to engage clinicians] will be an important direction to make recommendations in,” he said. “Allowing [the CCIO] workforce to grow and be certified, potentially, and be validated. It’s not the whole answer but it’s going to be a piece of the answer.”

His review was due to be published in June but was pushed back because of the purdah period for the EU referendum, and is now expected to be published in September.

HSJ understands that the search is being overseen by Matthew Swindells, NHS England’s new national director for commissioning operations and information, who has board level responsibility for technology policy.

HSJ revealed last month that NHS England is recruiting for a new “director of digital experience”, and that the national body had failed to recruit a chief technology and information officer after a first round of interviews. The search is on going and a second round of interviews have since taken place. 

The raft of new appointments and restructure follows the arrival of Mr Swindells and the departure of former director of patients and information Tim Kelsey in December, who was the executive in charge in technology.