Public Services > Central Government

Sarah Wilkinson starts new role as NHS Digital chief executive

Matteo Natalucci Published 15 August 2017

New NHS Digital chief replaces Rob Shaw, who acted as interim chief executive for the last six months


Sarah Wilkinson has begun her new role as chief executive at NHS Digital.

Wilkinson was previously at the Home Office from early 2015, joining to drive transformation of the department's IT capabilities. Now, she is heading what continues to be one of the public sector's most eagerly-scrutinised organisations.

One of the first issues on Wilkinson's agenda will be the fallout from the recent critical capability review of NHS Digital that asked serious questions of the organisation’s ability to meet the delivery commitments set out in the National Information Board’s Personalised Health and Care 2020 ambitions.

The review, carried out between October 2016 and March 2017, which has since prompted the creation of an NHS Digital report “Fit for 2020” responding to the review,  asked what steps would be needed to further transform NHS Digital into a modern, agile organisation capable of meeting the delivery commitments made in Personalised Health and Care 2020.

It found that few people are aware of NHS Digital’s role and functions in their entirety, especially its statutory role. The Executive Summary for the “Fit for 2020” report suggested NHS Digital is recognised for its expertise in delivering large scale infrastructure and technology live services, but there is frustration about its handling of data services.

On her new role, Wilkinson said, "I am delighted to be heading an organisation that has such a vital role to play as the key information and technology partner at the very heart of the health and social care system".

"This is a key time for the organisation as it becomes Fit for 2020 and I look forward to building on the strong foundations laid down over the last year, improving public access to data and modernising the way health and care is accessed and delivered," she added.

The Home Office has begun advertising for a new chief digital, data and technology officer (CDDTO) to replace Wilkinson.

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