NHS England and NHS Improvement this week announced a new Chief Clinical Information Officer for Health and Care, tasked with spearheading NHS use of technology and data to drive improvements in patient care.
Its hire is a practicing hospital consultant in Emergency Medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust called Dr Simon Eccles, who is also Clinical Director for Emergency Care at NHS England and who already holds a number of other senior NHS IT roles, including senior responsible owner for NHS Mail and Interoperability.
“Digital Health is a fast paced arena, and we must ensure parties work together to drive improvements for patients, who will remain my focus as I move from Hospital work to driving the NHS IT agenda.
“This is a really exciting time to be working on digital transformation and more so in the NHS with many important changes on the horizon.
“I look forward to working with all the teams across the Department of Health, NHS England, NHS Improvement and NHS Digital as we use data and digital technology to improve patient care and the efficiency of its delivery.”
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Eccles will report to Matthew Swindells, the National Director for Operations and Information, who commented that, “Simon was a fantastic candidate in a very strong field and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the IT agenda and the challenges being faced, together with great clinical experience from the frontline as an emergency medicine consultant.
“He will join an exceptional team that will drive forward our national IT strategy whilst remaining focused on delivering better outcomes for the patients we serve, and improved efficiency in how we deliver that care.”
His appointment is a joint one between NHS England and NHS Improvement and is being characterised as “a tangible example” of NHS commitment to “harness the power of data to improve patient care while keeping costs to taxpayers to an acceptable level”.
Noel Gordon, chair of NHS Digital and Non-Executive Director at NHS England, added: “Simon is a hugely welcome addition to the Board of NHS Digital in his capacity as CCIO.
“He brings an outstanding breadth of clinical experience and deep knowledge of the power of informatics to help the NHS become digitally enabled and to help patients use innovative technologies to transform health and care.”