The secretary of state for health and social care has said he hopes NHSX will ‘provide the leadership to transform the use of digital technology’ across the health service.

Speaking exclusively to Digital Health News at the launch of NHSX in London on 3 July, Matt Hancock added that he ultimately hopes NHSX “will save clinician’s time and patient’s lives”.

NHSX, which will oversee technology across health and social care, was confirmed by Digital Health News in February 2019 and brings together teams from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The unit has five missions: reduce burden on staff, so they can focus on patients; give citizens tools to access information and services directly; ensure clinical information can be safely and digitally accessed; improve patient safety across the NHS and increase NHS productivity.

Hancock said the success of the organisation would come down to three things. “The first is the five missions that NHSX has set out which are vital to the future of the health service,” he said.

“The second is that, to deliver on those missions and show it can be done, NHSX is setting out three exemplar projects where it is embedding NHSX people in projects – like screening, improving mental health and cancer – to mainstream the vision and the idea that underpins NHSX.

“The third of course that all of that is delivered through programmes to improve specific parts of the NHS.

“The clarity of the missions, of how it is going to be delivered, is incredibly important.”

Hancock was appointed as health secretary in July 2018 after serving as secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.

When asked whether he hoped NHSX would form part of his legacy as the government lead for health, Hancock said it was still early days.

He said: “I wanted to embed the tech vision which I have seen so successfully in other parts of government and embed that for the long term and that’s why I wanted to start an institution that is part of the NHS, to be able to ensure that mission will always have a home.”

NHSX will be headed up by former government director for cyber security, Matthew Gould.

Hancock said the NHSX CEO “understands the technology and people side”.

He added: “He can bring all of his experience from the tech domain and in the diplomatic domain, which is sometimes important in the NHS.”