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NHS England chief digital officer Juliet Bauer leaves to work for a supplier

NHS England’s chief digital officer is jumping ship, just as the NHS begins implementing its long-term plan, to join Swedish GP video consultation provider Livi

Juliet Bauer, NHS England’s chief digital officer (CDO), is leaving the health service to take up a role in the private sector. 

The CDO will join Swedish online GP video consultation provider Livi, which entered the UK market in October 2018.

Bauer, who has been instrumental in getting several key, patient-facing programmes off the ground, including the development of the NHS app and the health service’s own identity verification platform, is not due to begin her new role until April, but Computer Weekly understands she is leaving the NHS immediately. Her position is being filled by current Health Innovation Network CEO Tara Donnelly. 

The news comes shortly after the government published its NHS long-term plan, setting out a huge transformational shift in the way the NHS delivers care, promising a “digital-first” health service.  

Livi is still new to the UK market, and partnered with a GP federation in north-west Surrey to deliver online GP appointments. So far, 13,000 patients in the region have signed up to use the service. 

In her new role, Bauer will work globally, liaising and partnering with healthcare systems around the world, including the NHS.

Yesterday (14 January), Bauer penned an article in The Times as CDO for NHS England, highlighting the benefits of online and video GP appointments.

“Enabling patients to see GPs via their smartphone or tablet will be life-changing for many who struggle to see a doctor already: those with disabilities or mental health issues, those who live far from a surgery, and those who simply lead busy lives. Soon everyone will be able to see a doctor at a time they choose,” she wrote.

“Data from Sweden provided by Livi, Europe’s biggest video GP consultation provider, shows higher levels of patient and GP satisfaction, while at the same time delivering higher patient safety and medical quality, as well as crucial improvements in lowering prescription of antibiotics.” 

Although Bauer did mention in the article that she was leaving the NHS to take up a new role “with one of the largest and most digital healthcare providers in Europe”, she did not clarify that the provider is indeed Livi. 

The use of online, virtual GP consultations is a key part of the NHS long-term plan, and something which NHS England CEO Simon Stevens claims can save the health service £1bn a year. 

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