The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has appointed Hadley Beeman, the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport’s former tech and security expert, as his chief technology advisor.
Berry, who advised Hancock when he was digital and culture secretary, has been tasked with helping to modernise the NHS as part of a major transformation programme.
In a LinkedIn post, Beeman commented: “I’m delighted to say that I’m returning to Health, to work on transforming the NHS so that every part of it can use the best tech — now and going forward.”
Beeman’s appointment comes just weeks after Hancock pledged to invest almost half a billion pounds in transforming NHS technology. Some £75m will be invested in reducing the NHS’s reliance on paper systems, while a further £412m will be spent on transforming technology in hospitals, in a bid to improve patient care.
“From today, let this be clear: tech transformation is coming,” said Hancock in a speech unveiling the funding last month. “The opportunities of new technology, done right across the whole of health and social care, are vast. Let’s work together to seize them.”
Transforming the health service’s IT may prove challenging. The NHS is the world’s biggest buyer of fax machines and owns one in ten of the world’s pagers. That the WannaCry attack spread so rapidly through the NHS last year was widely considered to be proof that it had chronically underinvested in technology.
Beeman will be based at the Department of Health and Social Care, and work closely with NHS Digital and NHS England.