NHS England and NHS Digital have now merged into a single organisation.
The move will see the NHS’ data, technology and digital expertise brought into one organisation in an effort to more closely link its data collection and analysis with its drive to improve patient outcomes.
The legal merger was formally confirmed following parliamentary approval and came into effect 1 February.
The transfer will include all existing data protections, with NHS England becoming the owner of national health and social care datasets.
The newly bolstered NHS England will next merge with Health Education England on 1 April this year.
The merges represent an effort from NHS England to enable joined-up decision-making by making more efficient use of its resources.
NHS England has said the new integrated organisation will help accelerate the partnership working ushered in by ICSs by modelling ‘effective joint working’.
It expects that the newly formed organisation will be 30% to 40% smaller than the current combined size of all three by 2023/24.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS England’s chief executive, said: ‘Our colleagues from NHS Digital bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise, and a track record of delivering major data and digital projects and services, which will continue to be invaluable in our aim to help the NHS transform and improve the health and care of the people it serves.’
Simon Bolton, interim chief executive at NHS Digital, said: ‘Our merger with NHS England creates the opportunity to put digital at the heart of the NHS and build on what we’ve already achieved at NHS Digital.
‘Technology and data are helping to improve people’s lives every day, whether ordering a repeat prescription through the NHS App, getting the latest health advice from the NHS website, or arranging a Covid vaccine using our national online booking service.’