• NHSX CEO Matthew Gould says centre of expertise will help “redress asymmetry” between providers and tech suppliers 
  • Health service needs to do “better job” of supporting providers, according to Mr Gould 
  • Also reveals £200m being released into health system for provider digitisation 

NHSX has announced plans to launch a “centre of expertise” for healthcare providers where they can seek advice on securing deals with tech suppliers.

During his keynote speech at the NHS Providers conference in Manchester on Tuesday, NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould said the plans will help “redress the asymmetry” between providers and suppliers.

A team tasked with giving information on suppliers’ progress and charges to NHS providers is also expected to be set up within NHSX, according to Mr Gould.

He added the health service needed to do a “better job” of supporting providers as they battle with overstretched services and “limited budgets”.

Mr Gould said: “I think we can do a better job from the centre at redressing the asymmetry that exists between you and the tech suppliers from who you buy systems.

“So we are going to set up a centre of expertise that can advise you on deals in particular around data so that you get actual support and expert advice.

“We are going to set up a strategic commercial team to make sure that we share with you terms and conditions and information and knowledge about how different suppliers are doing and what they are charging across the system.

“Because, as I have been around the system, that asymmetry has been quite stark.”

Releasing £200m

Mr Gould went on to tell the conference that £200m of previously announced funding targeted at provider digitisation would now be released to ensure “all commitments that have been made to provider digitisation this year will be honoured”.

NHS England confirmed a portion of the £200m forms part of the £400m health system led investment programme announced by health and social care secretary Matt Hancock last year, under which sustainability and transformation partnerships will be allocated money to improve digitisation. 

It also includes global digital exemplar capital expected by trusts.

Mr Gould said: “I’m also conscious that we need to make sure that you have what you need to pursue the digitisation that’s set out in the long-term plan, that’s set out in the secretary of state’s tech vision.

“And that I totally recognise that includes money. I also recognise that the flow of funding hasn’t always been predictable and that this makes it harder for you to make the multiyear commitments that you need to make to pursue digital transformation for real.

“So I’m happy to be able to tell you today that we have worked with colleagues in NHSE and the department to resolve the capital difficulties we had earlier this year and we are now releasing just over £200m into the system through the provider digitisation programme.”

NHSX, which officially launched in July, is the tech unit established by Mr Hancock, split across NHSE/I and the Department of Health and Social Care. Its responsibilities include setting policy for NHS technology, digital and data as well as streamlining communication methods across the system. However, much about its governance and structure remains unclear.


HSJ Digital Transformation Summit

The HSJ Digital Transformation Summit, taking place at the Crowne Plaza, Stratford-upon-Avon from 12-13 February 2020, unites 120+ senior leaders from across the provider, commissioning and STP landscape with those who have leveraged technology to drive tangible improvements across other industries, to discuss how to realise your digital visions in a cash-limited environment and scale up innovations to improve quality and outcomes for your local population.

Held under the Chatham House Rule, attendees will quiz NHSX and national figures on general policy direction and co-develop solutions to their local challenges with innovators from across the country. The summit is free to attend for senior NHS digital leaders.

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