NHS News: Matt 'the App' takes the reins

New Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has arrived at a crucial juncture.

The Institute for Government set out his top two “in-tray” challenges as thrashing out a 10-year plan for future funding and the integration of health and social care.

Hancock sought to place clear water between himself and his predecessor with his first article, which highlighted low staff morale.

However, that mood music was undermined days later when he signed off on a pay deal for medical staff that will see all grades face another real-terms pay cut.

Hancock chose to deliver his first major speech in a decidedly traditional way, addressing staff at his local hospital.

Yet inevitably he turned to “technology” – highlighting the use of apps, devices and artificial intelligence to provide and analyse information and aid patient outcomes.

“From today let this be clear: tech transformation is coming,” he declared.

In a profile piece written back in May, journalist Andrew Gimson described the 39-year-old West Suffolk MP as “exceptionally ambitious.” 

The scribe concluded, tongue-in-cheek: “Hancock has not been stopped, but what, apart from digital transformation, does he stand for?.”

In coming months, he will have ample opportunity to provide an answer – one which will be scrutinised closely by NHS medical staff.

Who is Matt Hancock?
Elected in 2010 as MP for West Suffolk. Previously culture secretary. ConservativeHome noted he “has prospered” against expectations under the current government despite being a “protégé” of ex-chancellor George Osborne as his chief of staff.

Gained the nickname Matt “The App” as the first MP to launch his own smartphone application.

Former Bank of England economist with a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford and a masters in Economics from Cambridge.