December 1, 2023


Healthy Always

Farewell to NHS Digital because it merges into NHS England

4 min read

NHS Digital, for a very long time a key a part of the NHS IT panorama, has been merged into NHS England’s Transformation Directorate.

NHS Digital, the Division of Well being arms-length company that was liable for operating a lot of the NHS’s nationwide IT infrastructure and related providers, along with the supply of key information and analytics on well being and care, ceased to exist at midnight yesterday.

From this morning the company grew to become part of NHS England’s Transformation Directorate, with employees dealing with an unsure future at an NHS England dedicated to deep job cuts to cut back its now 18,000 headcount.

NHS Digital had been liable for vital providers together with the Well being and Social Care Community (HSCN), NHS backbone, the digital prescription service, abstract care report, NHS App and NHS 111.

The company which was based mostly in Leeds employed an estimated 6,000 employees, together with massive numbers of contractors. The company and employees performed a pivotal position within the NHS nationwide response to the Covid-19 pandemic with initiatives like speedy rollout of Groups and guarded sufferers lists and the NHS Covid App.

Employees transferred to NHS England face an unsure future, with a 40% discount in headcount anticipated.  Sources recommend that voluntary redundancies are commencing, whereas key employees together with interim CEO Simon Bolton have now left.

Bolton posted his farewell in a tweet yesterday as he logged off for the final time:

Kieron Martin, an NHS Digital worker in Hampshire and Isle of Wight, in the meantime tweeted:

Chris Gibbons from KPMG tweeted a reminder of simply how massive and sophisticated the programs run by NHS Digital are:

NHS Digital was merged into NHS England on 1 February, bringing to an finish the existence of an impartial company liable for operational operating of NHS IT, separated from the coverage arm of the Division of Well being.

The Well being and Social Care Info Centre was created in April 2013, with the title modified to NHS Digital in 2016.

The lineage of HSCIC stretched again to 2005 when it was created as a particular well being authority by means of a merger of remnants of the Nationwide Programme for IT, a part of the Division of Well being, the NHS Info Authority, and the Prescribing Help Unit.

NHS Digital got here beneath the remit of the short-lived and ill-fated NHSX from February 2021, itself an arm of NHS England.

The loss of life knell for the company was sounded by the Laura Wade-Gery evaluation in November 2021.  The erstwhile chair of NHS Digital really helpful it’s merged into NHS England to create a easy physique liable for NHS IT and digital technique.

A press release on the NHS Digital web site this morning reads:

“These programs and providers, capabilities, processes and constructions that have been the duty of NHS Digital, will proceed to function as regular and contracts will routinely switch to NHS England, with phrases and situations unchanged.

“We are going to work collectively over the primary half of 2023/24 to develop the brand new, extra streamlined constructions and processes that can assist our NHS.

“As a single organisation, this new NHS England might be extra aware of the most important challenges and alternatives of the system. It’s now the only non-departmental authorities physique liable for digital expertise, information and well being service supply within the NHS.”

Explaining the rationale for the merger the web site says: “This merger will cut back duplication, bringing the NHS’s nationwide information and expertise experience collectively into one organisation,” and directs readers to the Wade-Gery review.

On the NHS England web site, nonetheless, there was no point out of the take-over of NHS Digital and the switch of 6,000 employees.

NHSE CEO Amanda Prichard, nonetheless, tweeted to welcome the merger final week:

Helen Balsdon, appearing nationwide CNIO at NHSE, welcomed colleagues who have been becoming a member of NHSE:

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