NHS logo on smartphone

The CEO of NHSX has said the health service is “in danger of creating unrealistic expectation and demand” in terms of digitalisation.

At an event held by techUK on 10 June, Matthew Gould was quizzed about the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme – NHS England’s flagship programme designed to create a group of reference sites for NHS digitisation that provide standardised blueprints for other trusts to follow.

In particular, Gould, who will officially start as NHSX’s CEO on 1 July, was questioned about whether he thought the programme will create a digital gap between NHS trusts.

In response, Gould said the health service was “in danger of creating unrealistic expectation and demand” in terms of digitalisation, adding that the entire system should be brought up to a basic level.

He added: “For me part of the job is standards but also supporting the system, getting resources into the system to raise the standards of digitalisation.”

Gould also said that too many trusts are “just trying to get through the day” and expecting them to do “100 whizzy things is not realistic”.

NHSX was launched earlier in the year to oversee digital transformation of the health and care system, bringing together teams from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Gould, who is a former government director for cyber security, was later announced as the NHSX’s new CEO.

Speaking at the event, he said that the unit’s approach is to “let a thousand flowers bloom but according to clear rules and standards” or “standardised flowers.”

Gould also addressed his latest blog which suggested no more features should be added to the NHS App, instead innovators should be encouraged to build on top of it.

He told the audience that the purpose of scaling back the NHS App would prevent the NHS from “competing with the market or crowding out innovation by trying to do everything ourselves”.

His approach appears to have hit the mark with Digital Health News readers, in our latest poll 89% people said they agreed with Gould.