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Two tech chiefs to leave NHSE amid restructure

Published on: 29 Nov 2022

Two technology chiefs are leaving NHS England as the regulator continues its push to reduce staff numbers, HSJ has learned.

Jonathan Benger, NHS England’s interim chief clinical information officer, will depart at the end of 2022. He will join the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as chief medical officer.

Professor Benger was NHS Digital’s medical director for three years before taking on the role of interim CCIO at NHSE amid its merger with NHS Digital.

In a message to staff announcing the departure, NHSE’s director of transformation Dr Tim Ferris said Professor Benger had “played a significant role in NHSD’s leadership in recent years, particularly during the pandemic”.

Dr Ferris’ note added that Professor Benger’s deputy, Gareth Thomas, is also leaving NHSE.

Dr Thomas – whose first national role was as NHSX’s deputy CCIO, where he led the unit’s clinical cell for covid-19 – is joining Greater Manchester Integrated Care System as digital innovation director.

He will also leave at the end of 2022, with NHSE’s merger with NHSD expected to be completed by the end of January.

Around 6,000 posts are being cut across NHSE, NHSD, and Health Education England, which will all be merged by the end of this financial year.

However, NHSE is recruiting for a new chief information officer to replace its interim CIO Simon Bolton, whose departure was exclusively revealed by HSJ earlier this month.

The role will involve overseeing NHSE’s £400m budget for IT and digital. Recruitment firm GatenbySanderson is running the appointment process.