NHSX appoints chief information officer

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NHSX, the digital unit of the National Health Service, has appointed a chief information officer.

Sonia Patel, currently joint CIO at London North West University Healthcare Foundation Trust and the Hillingdon Hospitals Foundation Trust, will start her new job this summer.

The appointment follows the advertisement of the role in November 2019 and an update by NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould that the role was as part of the organisation’s efforts to build its leadership team.

Patel said on Twitter: “Truly honoured to be the voice of the NHS CIO. Thanks to [NHS deputy CEO and chief clinical information officer] Simon Eccles and Matthew Gould for putting their trust and confidence in me to lead with NHSX and the digital community the tech and data vision for the NHS.”

The CIO role at the NHSX is described as “the start of the NHSX’s connective tissue into the wider NHS”, with full visibility of what is going on in technology across the system. As part of her duties, Patel will deputise for Eccles as required.

In the role, Patel’s scope will include working with regional digital transformation leaders to define clear models and guidance around technology, as well as identifying what support various areas of the NHS need to unlock effective use of technology.

The role will be crucial to the delivery of the Tech Plan, a strategy announced by NHSX in February 2020, which aims to put the essential building blocks in place to ensure the digitisation of the healthcare sector. The plan has a phased approach, with delivery planned to start in the summer.

Patel’s appointment as NHSX CIO follows the appointment of David Turner as its permanent chief technology officer (CTO). Turner, who will start work in May 2020, will replace acting CTO Hadley Beeman, who will resume her original role as chief technology adviser to the secretary of state at the Department for Health and Social Care.

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