NHSE chief to depart for Middle Eastern tech firm

Published on: 27 Apr 2023

The NHS’s director for innovation and life sciences is leaving his job for a role with an Israeli technology firm, HSJ  has learned.

Matt Whitty, chief executive of the NHS’s Accelerated Access Collaborative, has told staff he is leaving NHS England later this year. The announcement comes amid NHSE’s ongoing reorganisation.

Mr Whitty’s role includes being NHSE’s director of innovation, research and life sciences, and he has worked in the position since joining NHSE in 2019.

He will join MDClone as its director of commercial partnerships. The company describes itself as a “growing startup” founded in Israel, focused on “unlocking healthcare data and empowering exploration, discovery and collaboration to improve patients’ health”.

Mr Whitty’s departure announcement comes shortly after Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust CEO Roland Sinker was given an unpaid national role as director of research and innovation.

An email to staff by transformation director Tim Ferris, seen by HSJ, said Mr Whitty had “decided to step down to take on a new position in the private sector”.

Dr Ferris said in his email: “Matt has used his leadership position to influence the organisation’s culture to see innovation not as nice to have but as essential to the healthcare service and to target innovations on key problems facing our patients including health inequalities.”

He said Mr Whitty’s team has had a “huge impact” for patients, with “over 1.8 million accessing innovations supported through the AAC’s programmes… and over £1.2bn of investment [secured]”.

Dr Ferris also highlighted Mr Whitty’s work to enable 50,000 patients to register to participate in research through the NHS App, and his development of the Medtech Funding Mandate to “support the uptake of medical technologies in the NHS”.

Other work involved setting up a “commercial triage process to maximise NHSE’s buying power”, which included overseeing the deal for NHSE’s agreement with GRAIL for the Galleri test that can detect 50 types of cancer.

Dr Ferris said: “I would like to personally thank Matt for his leadership, counsel and enormous contribution to bringing together key organisations across the innovation ecosystem and encouraging a cross-sector approach to some of the biggest challenges with research and innovation in the UK.”

Details of “interim arrangements” would be released in “due course”, Dr Ferris added.

MDClone supplies the ADAMS platform, which, according to the firm, uses “unique technology [that] enables any user of a healthcare organisation to organise, access and protect the privacy of patient data, empowering healthcare workers to rapidly transform ideas into actionable insights”.

Outside Israel, the company’s customers include several hospitals in the US and Canada.