back to article NHS England's chief digital officer goes full digital, ditches health service for GP app biz

NHS England's chief digital officer has reportedly told staff she is leaving the organisation just days after the government launched its tech-focused long-term plan for the body. annoyed doctor tired at computer NHS England claims it will be all-digital within the decade READ MORE Juliet Bauer will join Livi, a GP video biz …

  1. Camilla Smythe

    Works with my Nokia 130?

    No... then fuck off and fuck off anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You are more right than you think

      I work on the ‘NHS App’ and it is a massive cock-up with poor security, and she said this would be out in autumn 2018.

      She has jumped before she was pushed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pink Cloud and other annoyances...

        Sounds the type that uses acronymns constantly and (exciting) terms like "Pink Cloud" (yes, it's genuine and nonsense). That's when I feel like I've been doing the IT implementation drudge for far too long, bailing these type of people out, when the shit hits the fan, as it invitably does after vast budgets have been spent, as they move onto the next new - big shiney.

        Technology for the NHS doesn't need to be 'exciting', it needs to be boring, robust, have longevity (at least 10 years) with the minimum amount of steps to get hold of the data you need to treat the patient, importantly timely and failsafe.

        The biggest thing really should be nailing down the contracts on the equipment firmware/software (preferably opensource), how that equipment will be maintained. There is so little due diligence in this area.

        Simplicity is key (don't worry it'll get complicated from use, so start of simple), anything that adds multiple layers of complications or 'quirks', is going to cost you dear, as everything slowly turns into a can of worms to maintain over time anyway.

        On that note I'll add:

        Rolling out Windows 10 in the NHS, is the biggest 'wrong decision' the NHS has ever made.

        1. Korev Silver badge

          Re: Pink Cloud and other annoyances...

          >Rolling out Windows 10 in the NHS, is the biggest 'wrong decision' the NHS has ever made.

          Out of interest, what do you think they should have rolled out instead? Support for Win7 will disappear soon.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You are more right than you think

        Disappointing outcome but I'd already figured she was more than likely just a career promoting opportunist. She's been pushing out the same slightly rejigged blog posts surrounding what they've been doing for the last year or so.

  2. TRT Silver badge

    How do they keep getting away with this?!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone who works in the NHS

    I find this sort of thing disturbing. These are people in privileged positions and she's been hired 100% to leverage her existing NHS contacts and relationships whilst pushing privatisation in on a profit making agenda.

    I'm just glad I don't work in NHSEngland, it's at the forefront of selling off NHS services.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: As someone who works in the NHS

      And isn't it the trend now to move back towards clinician-led management after the disasters of the last few decades?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As someone who works in the NHS

        She's not talking about a move away from clinician led leadership, but a move away from clinician led care altogether. "Partnership approaches" is code for "privatising your healthcare provider" and "encouraging personal responsibility" is dog whistle for "cutting essential services".

        For the NHS to work effectively it can't be "just" free at the point of care. It must be a publicly owned body operated purely for the public good. These kind of views are how you go about parceling up the valuable bits, selling them off to your new mates from Sweden and then leaving the rest to crumble and die.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As someone who works in the NHS

      No she hasn't. She has been hired 100% to USE her existing NHS contacts and relationships........

      What are you? Some kind of HR consultancy reject?

  4. Laura Kerr

    Moving away

    "We need to move away from the paternalistic, clinician-led culture, to using a targeted mix of partnership approaches and encouraging personal responsibility for health where appropriate."

    What exactly is wrong with a 'clinician-led culture' in healthcare? Call me old-fashioned, but when I need healthcare, I think I'll take the advice of a doctor over a beancounter any day of the week.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Moving away

      Me too. The frightening thing is that they are now so far removed from the actual patient-doctor care concept that they no longer understand that there are such things as patients.

      1. Laura Kerr

        Re: Moving away

        "they no longer understand that there are such things as patients."

        Quite correct, there aren't. They're called 'service users' now.

        I'm deadly serious, BTW.

      2. Spazturtle

        Re: Moving away

        It is currently politically impossible to reduce how management lead the NHS is. Reducing the number of managers would be seen as NHS cuts and would look bad during this fake 'staff shortage' that the NHS is apparently suffering from.

        The managers knew what they were doing when they engineered this situation, when it came time to reducing NHS spending they made sure that all the cuts came from front line services and medical staff, that way the impact of the patients is maximize and it puts maximum pressure on the government to stop cuts and increase spending.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Moving away

          You do realise that the NHS actually has fewer managers than comparable systems?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Moving away

      No citizen you misunderstand, it will all become clear when you get your government issued device that allows you access to healthcare professionals on the go and all other aspects of government.

      Who needs ID cards? Doesn't matter if it's done in an app the results will be the same.

      Welcome to the digital future.

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Moving away

      "We need to move away from the non-medically trained self interested management-led culture, to a clinician led health service using a targeted mix of trained doctors and nurses who will have responsibility for your health "

      I think that reads a little better.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "offering patients digital-first primary care by 2023-24"

    I really hope "offering" means what I think it does, and that they haven't got it confused with a different word like, for example, "mandating".

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Bauer said in a canned statement that she was "delighted to be joining Livi at such an exciting time for digital health because it pays better"

    Having moved from a Civil Service job into commercial IT for that reason $GODDNESS_IS_IT_THAT_MANY years ago I can't say I blame her.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "has overseen work on the NHS 111 online service"

    I tried that last week.

    It was along the lines of "Do you have symptom A, symptom B or symptom C.

    OK, A and B.

    Oh, it works on radio buttons and can only accept one option.

    Have they never heard of check boxes or haven't they got rules (or maybe a rules engine) that works on two?

    It finally dropped through to "Gall your GP" which is what I'd have done without its "help".

    1. Halfmad

      Surprised they aren't calling that "AI" since that's what seems to be deemed as artificial intelligence these days..

      1. matthew bennion

        Unfortunately the whole thing has been oversold I feel. It's replicating what phone staff would do when following a interview script to diagnose. These things have been around for years.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "NHS Digital" will be as pleasant as the examination recommended for gents of a certain age

    And yes, they can go and stick it up their arse...

  9. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

    Problem: many people don't like taking the afternoon off work to attend a 5 minute GP appointment. many appointments are simply catch ups or prescription renewal that can be done over Skype, clearly not all.

    Additionally, many people don't attend their appointments, a particular problem with less than 3 GPs in house.

    Convenient access to NHS services via app can be great for some patients, having pools of hundreds of available GPs helps balance workload, and may even be immediately available. You also wouldn't need to leave the house to get a repeat prescription

    Some doctors will hate this, as it will be in direct competition with their multi million pound clinics, and may even lower the barrier for specialist sexual health nurses to take over swathes of work that a Dr could make an easy living out of

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "many appointments are ... prescription renewal that can be done over Skype, clearly not all."

      Skype just to renew a prescription? Why?

      This is a prime example of the "must use an app" mentality. These have been done by old-fashioned phone to a receptionist for years or, if you really want to go digital, by filling in a request on the web-site. It's possible, however, that periodically the doctor might wish to review by seeing and examining the patient rather than blindly renewing a dosage for years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Because "apps"

        It all allows the public to see how with-it Matt Hancock et al are, that they're up with all the cool stuff to fix problems.

        The annoying thing with all of this is that the NHS has no idea about basic processes. No organisation of that scale gives you only a call option. If I want to book physio at Nuffield, it's via the web. Log in, select service, book. I don't believe prescriptions need me calling Norah on reception who then spends time dealing with it to pass to a doctor and get printed. I'm sure this could be me clicking a button and a GP going down a list and confirming yes or that they need to talk to a patient first. Then I get my prescription sent, with a barcode, to my phone. The barcode is then verified at the pharmacy when scanned.

        I mean, National Express manage this. Cineworld manage this. It can't be that challenging.


    STOP using 'apps' and start using a "webpage"

    app's are just a waste of time if your providing a free service

    they are only useful if your charging someone....

    but what about video conferencing ? have you ever heard of WebRTC... these people have not a clue about how to deliver digital services.

    if the NHS or GP's published a web site with video embedded they could bundle it in a app container for those that...

    just look at rocketchat they have all the regulations etc...

  11. Roj Blake


    A quick browse of Bauer's LinkedIn profile (yes, I took one for the team), reveals her first healthcare-based job was November 2016 (and that was as a patient governor).

    Before that she'd had a range of short-lived jobs, mainly in marketing.

    How do these people always end up with the plum jobs?

    Oh, she went to Marlborough College (that's one of the top private schools in the country that will admit girls).

    So basically, she's another Dido Harding.

    1. Roj Blake

      Re: LinkedIn

      There was a typo in my earlier post. Bauer got that patient governor gig in November 2015, not 2016. She was then apparently sufficiently qualified for her senior NHS position in 2016.

      My apologies for any confusion.

  12. SVV

    Ah, the good old revolving door

    Set the NHS on some vaguely defined "digital first" path, preferring app baed consultation to gp visits, then shift off to a senior role in a company providing such apps on a ginormous salary. Company mysteriously awarded govt contract worth millions. Rewards for innovation and hard work indeed..

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think *all* staff who want to work in the NHS should have to serve a mandatory period working in front-line services first to orientate them to what a patient actually is and what the NHS is intended-for.

    I've done it but the vast of majority of my colleagues have no clue about patients, referring to them as "citizens" instead.

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