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Matthew Gould leaves role as national director for digital transformation

Fitness & Health:

Matthew Gould has left his role as national director for digital transformation at NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I), and director general for digital transformation in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

Simon Madden and Catherine Pollard will now head up the joint unit, which serves as both strategy and policy team of the new NHSE/I transformation directorate, and as the digital transformation directorate of DHSC.

In an internal email seen by Healthcare IT News, Gould announced he will be working to deliver “a priority piece of work for Amanda Pritchard and David Sloman on recovery of services.”

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He added that he had stayed to help see the NHS through the transition to the transformation directorate but had not expected to stay long term.

WHY IT MATTERS

Gould’s departure comes as part of a major organisational shake-up of the NHS, which has seen several senior staff members leave or change roles.

Last month Dr Simon Eccles announced he was stepping down from his position as chief clinical information officer (CCIO) at NHSE/I to resume his former role as an emergency-medicine hospital consultant at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.

Gould and Eccles both left after helping to set up the new transformation directorate, which brings together the digital and operational improvement teams within NHSE and NHSI. It also brings NHS Digital, NHSX and Health Education England together as part of the single organisation, with the aim of continuing the rapid transformation achieved during the COVID pandemic.

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The restructure follows a review by NHS Digital chair Laura Wade-Gery, which recommended a more coherent approach to digital transformation within the NHS.

Prior to the reorganisation, Gould was chief executive officer (CEO) for the tech body NHSX which was retired in January this year.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Gould’s move comes as the new appointments of two former NHS tech directors are under scrutiny. Former NHSX director of artificial intelligence (AI), Indra Joshi and former NHS England deputy director of data services Harjeet Dhalival have both been reported to have joined US data analytics giant Palantir Technologies.

The appointments have raised concerns about a conflict of interest, as they coincide with NHS England’s procurement of a £240 million federated data platform (FDP) contract, which Palantir is in the running for. 

ON THE RECORD

In an internal email, Gould said: “The work we have done together over the past three years has been the most important of my career.  We have changed the trajectory of the NHS and social care, helped both through the pandemic, and touched millions of lives through the changes we have brought.   We have forged brilliant partnerships and done a pretty good job at being the open, creative, respectful team we wanted to be.”

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