Natasha Phillips, the national chief nursing information officer, has become the latest departure from NHS England.

Digital Health News learned of Dr Phillips’ departure today from sources close to NHS England. Her departure comes less than two weeks after news that Dr Tim Ferris, director of transformation, will return to the US in September.

Digital Health News understands that Helen Balsdon, the current deputy CNIO, will once again take on the reins as interim CNIO. Balsdon recently deputised for Dr Phillips while she was away on sick leave.

Dr Phillips sent the following internal email to NHSE staff: “I have had a fantastic three years at NHSX and, more recently, NHS England and I have been fortunate to work with some talented, committed and passionate people who are driving real improvement in our NHS and social care.

“Thanks to Ruth May’s foresight I have had the opportunity, as the first CNIO for England, to bring national leadership to the advancement of nursing and midwifery through digital and data.

“I am incredibly proud of the legacy of a stronger nurse and midwife voice in digital transformation at all levels of the system and I am confident that the leadership community we have shaped will continue to go from strength to strength, supporting the professions to deliver outstanding care enabled by great technology and data.”

The news, which has yet to be confirmed by NHS England, completes a nearly clean sweep of the former national digital leadership from NHSX and NHS Digital, the two NHS IT bodies that NHSE has taken back control of in the past 12 months.

Those leadership departures have included Matthew Gould, CEO NHSX; Simon Eccles deputy CEO and national CCIO NHSX; Simon Bolton, NHS Digital interim CIO and interim CIO NHSE; and Dr Tim Ferris, director of transformation NHSE.

Sonia Patel, system CIO NHSE, is now the only high-profile remaining survivor of the former NHSX leadership team.

Away from the high-profile leadership roles sources suggest the merger of NHS Digital and NHS England is proving extremely gruelling, as the organisation seeks to shed 30-40% of headcount, equating to around 6,000 staff.