NHS England is currently recruiting for a new national chief clinical information officer (CCIO) to lead the Transformation Directorate’s Digital Clinical Informatics team.

The job listing was posted on the NHS Jobs website on Friday 12 April, where NHSE describe the national CCIO position as “an absolutely critical role within our structure”.

The job responsibilities include “advocating for the huge and ever-growing opportunities associated with digitisation of clinical pathways, and at the same time ensure a deep understanding of associated risk, and oversee judgements necessary in evaluating the two side-by-side”.

NHSE is looking for a candidate with substantial clinical experience as a clinical leader in practice, with a track record of inclusive leadership and strategic vision.

A potential national CCIO must also have substantial experience introducing new technologies and innovations and managing business change at scale across a system, provider collaborative or their equivalent in local government, charities or industry.

Other requirements listed in the job advertisement are:

  • Extensive knowledge of using information, data and analytics, standards, and harnessing technology to drive service improvement, access to services and patient empowerment across health and social care
  • Significant senior clinical Board level experience with responsibility for technology OR as CCIO within the NHS or relevant industry at provider collaborative, ICS or national scale
  • Qualified clinical professional with current registration with the relevant professional body (or bodies) and significant evidence of continued professional development.

History of national CCIO role

The very first national CCIO was Professor Keith McNeil, the former head of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who was appointed in July 2016. He held the position for 13 months before resigning in August 2017 to return to Australia to take up the roles of assistant deputy director general role and chief medical information officer at Queensland Health.

McNeil was replaced by Dr Simon Eccles in February 2018, who was at the time a consultant in emergency medicine at St Thomas’ Hospital and programme director for emergency care pathway transformation in London.

Eccles stepped down in April 2022 after four years in the role and Professor Jonathan Benger, the then-chief medical officer at NHS Digital, stepped into the role of national CCIO on an interim basis until November 2022 when he departed to become the chief medical officer at the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

NHSE then appointed an internal candidate, Dr Melanie Iles, as the first female national CCIO, once again on an interim basis in February 2023. NHSE has therefore lacked a permanent national CCIO since Eccles’ departure two years ago.

You can apply for the role of national CCIO at NHSE here. The deadline is Sunday 28 April 2024.