Current NHS Digital interim chief executive Simon Bolton has announced that he will not remain as part of NHS England once the organisations merge in January 2023.
Bolton will leave his positions as interim CEO at NHS Digital and as chief information officer (CIO) at NHS England once the organisations have been joined together. NHS England will advertise for a new CIO “shortly” according to a note to staff today from its transformation director Tim Ferris.
Bolton took on the role of interim CEO at NHS Digital from Sarah Wilkinson last year when she stepped down in the summer, leaving his role as CIO for NHS Test and Trace. Previously, he has served as the CIO of Jaguar and Land Rover.
He reacted to the news on Twitter, saying the decision to leave was “tough” but the merger with NHS England “creates a fantastic opportunity”.
Tough decision to leave TBH (primarily for personal reasons). The team at @NHSDigital is amazing in so many ways and have quietly delivered some incredible outcomes. The merger with @NHSEngland creates a fantastic opportunity to put digital at the centre of the NHS. https://t.co/k9A21FMVYV
— Simon Bolton (@simonrbolton) November 15, 2022
In January, NHS Digital, the provider of data services and IT infrastructure for the NHS, will be merged into NHS England’s transformation directorate, which the technology policy unit NHSX has already evolved into earlier this year.
The news came in November 2021 in the form of a letter to staff, which was seen by Digital Health News, from NHS England and NHS Improvement’s chief executive Amanda Pritchard.
Bolton has given several keynote speeches during his time as interim CEO at NHS Digital, including at Digital Health Rewired 2022, when he stressed that organisations in the centre of the NHS must demonstrate leadership following a “gradual decline into chaos” over the last couple of years.
He also spoke at Digital Health Summer Schools in July, where he voiced his belief that the centre of the NHS can be run more efficiently by reducing the headcount and moving resources.