Business chief brought in to review ‘turbulent’ NHS IT landscape

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  • Laura Wade-Gery to take over from Noel Gordon as chair of NHS Digital
  • She will lead a review of NHSX, NHS Digital and NHS England and Improvement’s approach to digital
  • Senior NHS sources say the structure of NHS IT has been “a bit of a mess” since NHSX was set up over a year ago

A business chief has been given a senior role in NHS IT and asked to review its ‘clumsy’ landscape of national leadership, just over a year after Matt Hancock established NHSX.

Laura Wade-Gery will join NHS Digital as chair in September and will lead a review of how NHSX, NHS Digital and NHS England & Improvement approach digital transformation and how it can happen faster.

Ms Wade-Gery has been a non-executive director of NHS Improvement since 2018, and previously led Marks & Spencer’s e-commerce, and spent 14 years at Tesco plc.

Senior sources told HSJ that the structure of the three organisations “doesn’t work very well” and is considered to be clumsy.

NHSX is a joint agency across NHS England and Improvement and the Department of Health and Social Care, set up just over a year ago by health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.

One source said: “The secretary of state has asked for a review to see how we can digitise the system a lot harder and faster.

“The current structure, which I think everyone thinks is a bit clumsy, with E&I and X and D, it’s all a bit of a mess.

“Laura Wade-Gery’s review is going to look at how digital transformation can happen a lot faster and in order to achieve that what structures and organisations are needed.

“It might be a shift is needed in the roles of the different organisations and how should they work together.”

Another source added: “When [NHSX] was set up I think a lot of people thought let’s see how it settles, let’s see if it falls naturally and it hasn’t, it’s been pretty turbulent all the way through so this review is necessary.”

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Source: HSJ

Date:23 July 2020