DH restructure brings digital, local government and social care under one roof

The Department of Health is to merge technology, digital, local government and social care in a restructuring of its directorates.

The Department of Health is restructuring its directorates – Photo credit: PA Images

The changes, which came into effect on 1 July, will see the department have four large groups, each managed by a director general, a DH spokeswoman confirmed to PublicTechnology.

According to the Health Service Journal, the changes are part of the department’s efforts to cut running costs by 30% by 2020.

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The community care directorate will now include oversight of digital and data, technology, social care, disability, community, mental health, seven day services, medicines and pharmacy, and the chief social worker.

The department spokeswoman said this team’s focus would be “on helping people stay out of hospital [and] providing patients with support when they live with long-term conditions”.

The HSJ said that Will Cavendish, who was formerly the director general responsible for technology and has been on secondment to the Cabinet Office since February, has now taken on a permanent role at the Cabinet Office.

His duties, it said, are to be taken up by the new community care director-general, Tamara Finkelstein, who was previously chief operating office and director-general for group operations at DH.

The HSJ also said that Jon Rouse, former director general of social care and local government, would remain at the department to oversee the changes. He took up the role of chief officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership on 31 March this year.

The remaining three directorates are: global and public health, which the department spokeswoman said would focus on the work required to prevent illness and improve general health; acute care and workforce, to work to improve hospitals; and finance and corporate services.

The HSJ reported that the acute care and workforce group would be led by Charlie Massey – currently director-general for strategy and external relations – while David Williams will continue to oversee finance and commercial operations.

Felicity Harvey was previously director-general for public and international health, but said in February that she would be retiring from civil service in June this year. The department is expected to recruit for the role of director-general for global and public health.

The DH spokeswoman said: “Chris Whitty will remain chief scientific adviser, taking on additional responsibilities for the chief economist and Office for Life Sciences, reporting to the chief medical officer, Sally Davies.”

Although the changes came into effect on 1 July, none of DH’s organisational charts or webpages have been changed, and none of the new directors-generals’ LinkedIn profiles have been updated. 


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