Skip to main content

NHSE appoints two new tech chiefs

Published on: 22 Feb 2023

NHS England has appointed an interim successor to long-serving chief clinical information officer Simon Eccles, who left his position last year, HSJ can reveal.

The regulator has named Melanie Iles as interim CCIO, with Arjun Dhillon appointed as her deputy.

The NHSE CCIO role aims to strengthen the clinical voice in digital transformation projects across the regulator’s portfolio, as well as championing the role of clinicians in digital projects across the NHS.

Simon Eccles, the previous incumbent, left last year after four years as the NHS’s CCIO – although he had spent several years before this leading national digital transformation projects for the health service. Since his departure the role had been filled by Jonathan Benger, who left at the end of last year for a job with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. 

Prior to her new role, Dr Iles has been NHSE’s medical director and CCIO for the East of England region.

In a message to NHSE staff – seen by HSJ – medical director for transformation Vin Diwakar said Dr Iles has a “wide range of experience in digital transformation, improvement and transformation leadership”.

Her job will be to “shape the future of digital clinical informatics in the new NHSE” and lead the process of creating a new NHSE digital clinical informatics team together with the regulator’s chief nursing information officer (currently Helen Balsdon, while Natasha Phillips is on sick leave).

Dr Iles will report to Dr Diwakar.

Her deputy, Dr Dhillon, has also been appointed on an interim basis and joins NHSE after holding the post of Caldicott Guardian at NHS Digital, which has recently merged with NHSE.

He will lead a team of “experienced clinical informaticians on the quality management systems, clinical governance and risk management process which provide assurance on the safety of our digital products, platforms and services”, according to Dr Diwakar.

NHSE told HSJ the appointments, which were advertised internally, are on an interim basis due to a recruitment freeze being in place amid the restructure of the organisation. The regulator intends to appoint a permanent CCIO and deputy CCIO. 

The regulator is also recruiting a new chief information officer, following the departure of ex-NHS Digital chief executive Simon Bolton earlier this year.