Four acute trusts in North West London have announced the appointment of former national NHS chief information officer (CIO), Matthew Swindells, as joint chair.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust are the four trusts he will jointly chair. Combined, the four trusts are responsible for 12 hospitals.

The trusts already operate via partnership working through a joint acute care board which focuses on expanding planned care capacity and tackling wait times.

Swindells’ appointment is the next step for the north west trusts to strengthen their collaboration, and move towards becoming a formal acute care collective in line with national NHS policy.

He said: “I am delighted to take up this role, particularly as someone who lives and uses health services in north west London. The scale of opportunity we have to improve health by working together is huge – we already have brilliant staff and teams, strong local leadership and high quality research.

“Combined with the successful collaboration we have seen to date, these are the pillars we need to develop our health system in north west London to be one of the most outstanding health systems globally. I look forward to returning to the NHS to work closely with colleagues across the patch, who I know share my passion for working with local communities to achieve the best possible health and care for everyone.”

Swindells has over 30 years’ experience working in healthcare. He is the former deputy chief executive and chief operating officer for the NHS England, a role he left in summer 2019. He was also the NHS’s first CIO and it was under Swindell’s tenure that the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme was introduced to support digital transformation within the NHS.

After moving to the private sector, Swindells most recently took up the role of advisor for Written Medicine, which aims to improve health and medication information equity and accessibility.

Lesley Watts, chief executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation trust, added: “Matthew’s appointment is great news for north west London. His experience and expertise in healthcare operations and digital transformation – nationally and locally – will be invaluable.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, all four trusts are committed to supporting one another and working with our patients and partners to build on all that has been achieved together over the past two years.”

Swindells will take up his position on 1 April 2022.