• Simon Eccles steps down from NHS Digital board
  • NHS England says he will continue in chief clinical information officer role 
  • NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould to attend next NHS Digital board meeting 

England’s top digital clinician Simon Eccles has stepped down from NHS Digital board and will be replaced by the newly-appointed chief executive of NHSX.

Matthew Gould is expected to attend the board’s next meeting next month – replacing national chief clinical information officer on the board Dr Eccles, who sat as the Department of Health and Social Care’s “senior representative”.

An NHS England spokesman confirmed Mr Gould is joining NHS Digital “as part of his role as CEO of NHSX” – the government’s new digital unit that has centralised powers over NHS IT spending previously held by the DHSC, and NHS England/Improvement.

Dr Eccles, only the second national chief clinical information officer appointed to the role, has had a wide mandate from DHSC to commission spending on digital transformation across health and social care. The national CCIO role was created in 2016 to increase clinical leadership of the NHS IT strategy, one of the recommendations of the Wachter review of NHS IT.

In addition to serving on the NHS Digital board, Dr Eccles is the national information board chair and sits on the digital delivery board, both of which have had some oversight over NHS IT strategy and NHS Digital prior to NHSX being formed. His role has now been folded in NHSX, along with several other senior digital policy leaders.

An NHS England spokesman said apart from relinquishing his place on the NHS Digital board there will be no further changes to Dr Eccles’ role.

Mr Gould, whose primary experience is the civil service rather than healthcare, will officially start as NHSX chief executive in July, but he has already started work there.

The new unit’s responsibilities will include setting policy for NHS technology, digital and data, streamlining communication methods across the NHS system and supporting new technologies in the health system.