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Welsh Government shakes up informatics structure


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Welsh Government has announced changes in its national informatics service to support digital health and care.

Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething (pictured) said the NHS Wales Informatics Service is to become Digital Health and Care Wales, and transition from its current non-statutory status as part of Velindre NHS Trust to that of a special health authority (SHA).

The move comes after an independent review, triggered by the Wales Audit Office stating the country is still a long way from realising the full benefits of the Welsh Community Care Information System, and the UK Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee’s report highlighting slow progress towards making the NHS paperless.

The Welsh Government is preparing legislation to establish Digital Health and Care Wales as an SHA, and has published a consultation document on its functions, saying it is open for feedback until the end of this month.

It will be responsible for: application development and support; the design, commissioning and delivery of digital services; the provision of ICT services and infrastructure; quality management and regulatory compliance; information management; information governance; cyber security; finance and business assurance; reporting services; and workforce improvement.

Bob Hudson has been appointed as interim chair of the organisation.

Enabler of change

“Establishing our national digital services organisation as a dedicated organisation reflects the importance of digital technology as a key enabler of change,” Gething said.

“Never has this been more evident than in the ability to rapidly deploy flexible digital solutions to support our response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including our contact tracing digital platform to support Test, Trace and Protect, and facilities to enable staff to work remotely and patients to communicate with health professionals from their home.”

Image from Welsh Government, Open Government Licence v3.0

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