Staff working for NHS Connecting for Health, its strategic health authority delivery arms, and the Health and Social Care Information Centre face a long period of disruption as a ‘new’ HSCIC is formed.
An ‘informatics functions transfer document’ sent to staff last week says that with just a few exceptions, all CfH, SHA informatics delivery and HSCIC staff will be transferred to the new HSCIC, which will be set up as an executive non-departmental body on 1 April next year.
However, it says that SHA staff may have to transfer to CfH before they can be transferred on again.
And it warns that while the initial transition will be kept as straightforward as possible, a further “transformation phase” will take place beyond April 2013” as the new body beds-in.
As EHI reported earlier this month, NHS Connecting for Health will formally cease to exist at the end of March next year.
Policy relating to information, information systems and information governance will become the responsibility of the Department of Health’s external relations directorate, which is headed by Charlie Massey.
Massey was one of three director generals appointed to the DH in February, moving to the department from the Department of Work and Pensions, where he was director for ageing society and state pensions.
Meanwhile, the patients and information directorate at the NHS Commissioning Board, which is headed by Tim Kelsey, will take responsibility for commissioning and sponsoring national IT infrastructure, applications and services, for setting IT standards, and for encouraging best practice.
And the ‘new’ HSCIC, for which a new chair and chief executive will have to be appointed, will take charge of health and social care information, managing and monitoring national IT systems and services, and accrediting national and local IT systems against commissioned standards.
To enable the HSCIC to do these jobs, the ‘informatics transfer document’ says that most of CfH, including the Technology Office and the clinical division, will move to the ‘new’ HSCIC, along with all of the ‘current’ HSCIC, and SHAs’ national and local delivery programme functions.
However, some CfH functions will go to other bodies, or cease. The Technology Office’s informatics and information governance policy function will move to the DH external relations directorate, as will sponsorship of the National Information Governance Board.
But its informatics and information governance strategy function will not move to the NHS CB, because it has decided to tackle its responsibilities in these areas in a different way.
Similarly, the clinical division’s clinical data standards assurance and clinical safety assurance functions will transfer to the ‘new’ HSCIC.
But other clinical division functions, including clinical informatics delivery assurance and patient informatics delivery assurance, will not transfer anywhere; again because the NHS CB’s responsibilities “will be discharged through functions that are different from those currently provided by CfH.”