The former chair of the Digital Health CCIO Network has said he is “excited” to be taking on a new role as medical director of Sleepstation.

Joe McDonald started at the Newcastle-based company on March 31.

“I am very excited about my new job,” said Joe, who served as chair of the CCIO Network until 2019.

“It is strange to be in a smaller environment, I am used to waiting for approval from higher up the chain, it is alien to me. I am an institutionalised creature of the NHS, so this new role is very refreshing.”

Sleepstation is an online programme which claims to cure insomnia without the need for medication via personalised support.

The programme is available free on the NHS via a GP referral.

Prior to his new role, Joe was director of the Great North Care Record (GNCR).

Set up more than three years ago, the GNCR is one of the second wave local health care records exemplar (LHCRE) sites, with the ultimate aim of linking up the region’s hospitals; mental health services; social care; GPs and community services; and ambulance services.

Joe said he is particularly proud of the work he has achieved there.

“It [GNCR] is the best piece of work I have ever done with the best team I have ever had,” he said.

However, with 13 trusts connected and 100% of GPs in the area signed up, Joe admits there was not much more for him to do.

“I have taken it [GNCR] as far as it will go, we got the whole region connected,” he said.

“I was brought in for clinical leadership, to help bring all clinicians on board and that bit is done so there isn’t really much more for me to do.”

The next stages for the GNCR will involve “top end research” but the aim will still be to “put citizens in control of their data”.

Joe added: “The real challenge now is the delivery of services and delivery of care.”