Emergency medicine consultant unveiled as new Chief Clinical Information Officer for Health and Care

NHS England and NHS Improvement have today announced that Dr Simon Eccles has been appointed as the new Chief Clinical Information Officer for Health and Care to spearhead NHS use of technology and data to drive improvements in patient care.

Dr Eccles is a practicing hospital consultant in Emergency Medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and will succeed Professor Keith McNeil. He is also Clinical Director for Emergency Care at NHS England, London, and holds a number of senior roles nationally including as senior responsible owner for NHS Mail and Interoperability.

Dr Eccles said: “Digital Health is a fast paced arena, and we must ensure parties work together to drive improvements for patients, who will remain my focus as I move from Hospital work to driving the NHS IT agenda.

“This is a really exciting time to be working on digital transformation and more so in the NHS with many important changes on the horizon.

“I look forward to working with all the teams across the Department of Health, NHS England, NHS Improvement and NHS Digital as we use data and digital technology to improve patient care and the efficiency of its delivery.”

Reporting to Matthew Swindells, the National Director for Operations and Information, the appointment was made following open competition by a Panel including Board members from NHS England, NHS Improvement, NHS Digital and the Department of Health and Social Care.

Matthew Swindells, national director of operations and information at NHS England, said: “Simon was a fantastic candidate in a very strong field and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the IT agenda and the challenges being faced, together with great clinical experience from the frontline as an emergency medicine consultant.

“He will join an exceptional team that will drive forward our national IT strategy whilst remaining focused on delivering better outcomes for the patients we serve, and improved efficiency in how we deliver that care.”

Sigurd Reinton, Chairman of the Digital and Technology committee of the NHS Improvement board, said: “I am very pleased Simon has decided to accept this important appointment. He brings to it a deep clinical understanding as a practicing consultant in emergency medicine of the benefits to be had from more effective use of data. This is allied to a particularly good knowledge and understanding of the practical and political challenges in this area, gained through a deep involvement over many years of work to make effective use of data in the NHS a reality.

“This is a joint appointment between NHS England and NHS Improvement and is a tangible example of the intention for both to work much more closely together, and with NHS Digital, to harness the power of data to improve patient care while keeping costs to taxpayers to an acceptable level.”

Noel Gordon, chair of NHS Digital, and Non-Executive Director at NHS England, said: “Simon is a hugely welcome addition to the Board of NHS Digital in his capacity as CCIO. He brings an outstanding breadth of clinical experience and deep knowledge of the power of informatics to help the NHS become digitally enabled and to help patients use innovative technologies to transform health and care.”