Responsibility for NHS IT at a national level is to be split three ways between the Department of Health, the NHS Commissioning Board, and the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
An NHS Informatics draft business plan for the coming year, seen by eHealth Insider, says an NHS Informatics Futures Board has been set up to oversee the division of its functions – and to get the different organisations involved to liaise on IT issues.
The business plan says that over the course of the move there will be a “reduction in the number of centrally funded informatics staff” that will require careful handling – although there may be new jobs at a more local level.
One of the big risks identified in the strategy is that there will need to be “greater skills and capacity in ‘local’ NHS organisations” and that this may not appear.
Other risks identified include failing to develop the ‘vibrant supplier market place’ that is supposed to give trusts a bigger choice of systems to choose from as the National Programme for IT in the NHS winds down, and the programme’s unfinished procurement business.
EHI reported today that Katie Davis, the managing director of NHS Informatics, will leave her post by 1 September.
Tim Donohoe, who is currently responsible for the day to day delivery of NHS programmes and services, will take on her role until NHS Connecting for Health is abolished next March.
The draft business plan outlines a tripartite split between future NHS IT policy, systems, and management when this happens.
A new external relations department at the DH will take on responsibility for information policy and making sure that a “joined, up, patient-centred approach is taken across health and social care.”
The NHS CB in Leeds will then work with the department and the new Public Health England to “commission and sponsor” national infrastructure, applications, services, standards and information governance” and encourage best practice.
And the ‘new’ HSCIC will both collect, analyse and present national data on health and social care and “manage and monitor the day to day delivery of national systems and services”, while also approving and accrediting national and local IT standards against technical and clinical standards.
The move to the new structure is likely to cost around £2.5m, and will mean considerable disruption for some parts of NHS Informatics.
The Technology Office, which is currently led by Paul Jones, will be split between the three receiving organisations; a process the business plan says it will try to make “as effective and worry-free as possible” for its staff.
The delivery functions of strategic health authorities will also be affected by the changes, which will start this summer and be complete by the start of the next financial year.