The CCIO and Health CIO networks, the independent leadership, collaboration and best practice networks for NHS digital leaders, have formed a partnership with BCS Health and Care, part of BCS the Chartered institute for IT.

The new collaboration will focus on a series of joint activities to strengthen and support the professional development of NHS digital leaders, both IT professionals and clinical informatics leaders.

Together, the three organisations will focus on continuing to make the case for the appointment of properly resourced and empowered CCIOs and CIOs in every NHS organisation, and supporting these leaders through leadership networks and high quality training and development. 

The appointment of CCIOs, and targeted investment in digital leaders across the NHS, was a key recommendation of the recent Wachter Review into NHS IT.

In addition, the collaboration will examine the potential for actions to improve the usability of clinical systems, including collecting and publishing software usability ratings as experienced by individual health professionals.

BCS Health and Care, the CCIO and Health CIO networks will next create a working group to develop joint plans in areas in which our unique collaboration can add value to in the professionalisation of CCIOs and CIOs in health and care.

Andy Kinnear, the chairman of BCS Health, said: “The ambitions espoused by BCS’s campaign to ‘Make IT Good for Society’, when applied to the health and care sector, squarely align with those of the CCIO and CIO networks.

“I am really excited by the potential of our partnership and the opportunity to leverage ideas, energy and expertise from both sides to deliver the professionalised workforce of the future. Together we are most definitely stronger."

Dr Joe McDonald, CCIO at Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the CCIO Network, said: “I have been a member of BCS for several years and I have often thought that the experience BCS members have in the digitisation of other industries would be useful to the NHS and social care.

“So I very much welcome this partnership with the CCIO Network and hope it will help in the digital transformation of health and care. There is much to be gained by both organisations.”

Adrian Byrne, director of informatics at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the Health CIO Network, said: “Many in the NHS do not realise we have passed the tipping point on digital.

“I am sure that alignment with the BCS will provide an opportunity for IT in the NHS to take itself confidently into an age of mission critical systems, which is where we now are. We will definitely benefit from learning how other sectors made their case, and how they plan to deal with future risks and issues.”

Jon Hoeksma, chief executive of Digital Health, which convenes and hosts the networks, said: “The networks grew out of a campaign to appoint clinical information leaders and have since developed into the key independent leadership communities in NHS IT. 

“Partnering with BCS, which has been an ally and supporter, offers the opportunity to build on this success and significantly accelerate the development of the local digital leaders so urgently needed across the health service.” 

The collaboration announcement was made at the Health CIO and CCIO Network National Conferences, co-located as part of the annual EHI Live trade show in Birmingham.