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Oscar Williams

News editor

Health secretary Matt Hancock unveils membership of “healthtech” advisory board

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has unveiled the membership of a new panel aimed at guiding the delivery of his plans to make the NHS the world’s most advanced healthcare service.

The healthtech advisory board is made up of academics, clinicians and tech experts, and will meet for the first time today (19 November) to discuss new ways to improve patient care and reduce NHS employees’ workloads.

Among the 13 board members are: chair Ben Goldacre, a clinician, author and head of Oxford University’s data lab; Jeni Tennison, CEO of the Open Data Institute; Roger Taylor, chair of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation; Rachel Dunscombe, CEO of the NHS Digital Academy; and Daniel Korski, CEO of govtech venture capital firm Public.

“I want the UK to have the most advanced HealthTech ecosystem in the worlds,” said Hancock. “That starts with improving the technology and IT systems in the NHS and creating a culture of innovation so patients can benefit from cutting-edge treatments while reducing the workload of staff.

“The new future-focussed HealthTech Advisory Board will bring together tech experts, clinicians and academics to identify where change needs to happen and be an ideas hub for how we can improve patient outcomes and to make the lives of NHS staff easier.”

The board is expected to meet every quarter and will report directly to the health secretary. Ben Goldacre said: “I am delighted that Matt Hancock has created this board to inject challenge and diverse expertise around better use of data, evidence and technology in healthcare.

“I hope we can bring positive change for staff and patients, and realise the Tech Vision with a cutting-edge 21st century NHS. Medicine is driven by information: better use of data can revolutionise health care.”

The board’s membership includes:

  • Chair Ben Goldacre – clinician, author and head of Oxford University’s data lab
  • Rachel Dunscombe – CEO of the NHS Digital Academy and director of digital for Salford Royal NHS Group
  • Nicole Junkermann – founder of NJF Holdings, an international finance and investment company
  • Manoj Badale – co-founder of Blenheim Chalcot, a digital venture builder
  • David Gann – professor of innovation and technology management at Imperial College London
  • Sir Mark Walport – chief executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Nicola Blackwood – chair of the Human Tissue Authority
  • Roger Taylor – chair of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation
  • Daniel Korski CBE – co-founder and CEO of PUBLIC, a venture capital firm
  • Michelle Brennan – company group chair for Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies
  • Dan Sheldon – head of digital at Well Pharmacy
  • Jeni Tennison – CEO of the Open Data Institute
  • Parker Moss – Health technology entrepreneur in residence at F-Prime and Eight Roads

In proposals published in October, Hancock outlined plans to introduce new minimum technical standards to ensure NHS systems are interoperable and can be continuously upgraded.

Systems which do not meet the standards will be phased out, while government will “look to end” contracts with health and care IT providers which fail to understand the NHS’s new architectural principles, the Department for Health and Social Care said in a statement.

To coincide with the launch of Hancock’s tech vision, NHS Digital published a set of architectural principles and a new framework for IT standards.

“A modern technical architecture for the health and care service has huge potential to deliver better services and to unlock our innovations,” said Hancock. “We want this approach to empower the country’s best innovators — inside and outside the NHS — and we want to hear from staff, experts and suppliers to ensure our standards will deliver the most advanced health and care service in the world.”

But there is currently no funding allocated to making the latest plans a reality. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care told NS Tech: “Digital transformation and technology services in the health and care system are currently funded through a combination of revenue and capital funding from central and NHS budgets.

“The tech vision, and the NHS Long Term Plan, envisage that this model will continue, with funding drawn from the Spending Review and NHS resources.”