• Matthew Gould confirmed as NHSX CEO
  • NHSX will sign-off new tech projects
  • Plans for a new NHS chief technology officer

NHS commissioners and IT suppliers will need to get sign-off from NHSX for new digital projects, according to fresh details released about the government’s new tech agency.

This morning the Department of Health and Social Care also confirmed the appointment of NHSX’s chief executive Matthew Gould.

HSJ first revealed the likely appointment of Mr Gould, a former diplomat and current government’s current digital tsar, in February. He will start in the role over summer and report to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and the health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.

DHSC has also pushed back the date NHSX will become “operational” from April to July, with staff in the meantime remaining within NHS England and the department.

Fresh details about the new joint venture unit include:

  • NHSX will have a chief technology officer, a new role that does not currently exist in either DHSC or NHS England.
  • NHS suppliers and commissioning will have to “demonstrate” to NHSX that they met new IT standards for data security and interoperability when embarking on new digital projects. However, once signed off by NHSX, suppliers will not have to repeatedly demonstrate competency when selling into the NHS.
  • NHSX will be responsible for making sure national digital services, such as the NHS app, work for IT suppliers wanting to plug into the product and local NHS organisations.
  • It will be responsible for “reforming procurement” for tech products.
  • It will develop digital care pathways to be deployed across the NHS
  • From July it will enforce compliance with the new IT standards.
  • It will set the national NHS cyber security policy.
  • An early focus for NHSX will be working with national mental health and cancer teams within NHS England.

Many of these responsibilities currently sit within NHS England. HSJ first reported in January that Mr Hancock was pushing for the creation of a new tech unit, partly because he was frustrated at fragmented national leadership on tech policy.

In February, Mr Hancock said the unit would be a joint venture between NHS England and DHSC. Staff will continue to be employed by their existing organisations, but will work in NHSX teams.

Commenting on NHSX on Thursday, Mr Hanock said: “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.”

Mr Gould said: “I will know I have succeeded if in two years we have reduced the crazy amount of time that clinicians spend in putting 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.”

Simon Eccles, the NHS’s chief clinical information officer, said: “To ensure the benefits of new digital technology can reach patients right across the country, experts from the NHS and Government will be working closely together as part of NHSX to help the NHS go further, faster.”