The Electronic Patient Record has not rolled out to each and every location, and is not available at the GP interface. Even Healthcare government computing does not have much to say for his term in office. If he has been employed in private industry would his record have been sufficient? 3 years and millions of pounds later – Tim Kelsey moves on. Just what has he achieved?
Lead figure behind care.data and national online service strategies will be moving to take up commercial director role in private sector
Tim Kelsey, national director for patients and information at NHS England, has announced his decision to step down from the role at the end of the year to become commercial director with Australia-based private sector company Telstra Health.
Having been at NHS England since its formation in 2012, Kelsey has been a key figure in setting out the health body’s major technology initiatives focused on data sharing and opening up online records access by 2020. He was also appointed last year as chair of the National Information Board focusing on health and care.
Announcing his decision, Kelsey said it had been an “enormous privilege” to help make the case for a digitally-enabled NHS, claiming significant progress had been made over the last three years to try and realise these aspirations.
‘Our NHS must support patients, citizens and those who serve them with much better access to the information revolution that has transformed so much of the rest of our lives. This is a human imperative: to put data and technology to work to empower people to take control, when they want to and shape the care they need,” he said.
“The decision to leave has been one of the hardest I’ve made but I’m going to fulfil an ambition that will come as no surprise to those who know me well – to develop next generation digital services for patients and professionals that I hope will help all of us take more control of our health and care. New technologies – particularly the advent of genomics and personalised medicine – offer unprecedented opportunity to transform health outcomes.”
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens praised Kelsey’s work in seeking to introduce more “open, transparent and technology-enabled health services.”
“It’s no surprise that other countries now want to emulate that success, so as the NHS moves into the implementation phase of the strategy Tim has helped craft, we wish him every success as he shifts gear to working in Australia and internationally,” he said.
Kelsey is anticipated to take up his new role from July 1, 2016, after observing a six month ‘cooling off period’ before he can engage “in any business activity with the NHS.”
He was previously a co-founder of UK-based health analysis group Dr Foster, where he held seperate roles as both chief executive and executive chairman up to 2010. During this time time 50% of the company’s shares were acquired by the Department of Health as part of a joint venture agreement.
Dr Foster was acquired by Telstra Health in March this year as part of a strategy to boost its overall analytical capability both in Britain and globally.
Andrena Logue, research director for Kable said, “The timing of Kelsey’s announcement is not good for NHS England, as it arguably enters the most critical and challenging period of attempting to achieve a critical mass digital platform across an integrated health and care setting. While he can be accredited as creating a solid blueprint, he leaves behind a divisive care.data programme and a frontline user base considerably way off from meeting is ‘paper light’ remit. The loss of its digital tsar should force NHS England to perhaps consider other more innovative approaches to fulfilling its ambition.”
Earlier this month, Kelsey addressed the NHS Innovation Expo Conference in Manchester, where he outlined plans to move forward with implementing new governance measures for digital maturity as part of efforts to replace paper-based systems with new solutions like barcodes for patients, drugs and equipment.
By November 2015, CCGs and care providers will be required to complete a self-assessment process benchmarking their use of digital technology and where improvements are needed to meet ambitions to transform the NHS into a paperless organisation by 2020.
Meanwhile, work is also continuing to outline how best to engage and inform patients over the care.data programme, which was originally set to be launched last year before being delayed over concerns about confidentiality.
Kelsey has been a key figure in developing the flagship programme, which is a national initiative designed to eventually use anonymised patient data extracted from GP and hospital medical records to inform improved healthcare.
Government Computing understands that the actual process of beginning to extract patient information, which will require the explicit consent of national data guardian Dame Fiona Caldicott based on a number of clarifications she outlined last year, is not expected in the short-term.
Phil Booth, coordinator with pressure group Medconfidential, argued that with Kelsey set to leave his role, “serious questions” regarding consent and transparency concerning NHS England’s flagship data programme remained unanswered.
“We look forward to seeing how public confidence in the handling of NHS patient data will recover under new leadership. NHS England’s strident insistence on commercial re-use of medical records must now be reconsidered,” he said.
“Lord Saatchi’s Medical Database Bill, due to be re-published in the Commons the week after Conservative Party Conference, may provide some sign whether [health secretary] Jeremy Hunt has learnt the lessons of care.data for the entire NHS.”