News in brief; new interim CEO at NHS Digital, UCL office productivity research, Cambridge University cancer breakthrough

It’s been another busy seven days in the world of healthcare; we’ve recently brought you news that the NHS Chief Executive is leaving the organisation in the summer and that blood plasma donations took place for the first time since the 1990s.

Here we cover some more news from across the industry:

Interim CEO appointed at NHS Digital

Simon Bolton, formerly Chief Information Officer at NHS Test and Trace, has taken up the role of NHS Digital CEO on an interim basis.

The former CIO at Jaguar/Land Rover will begin on the 4th of June 2021. NHS Digital are planning to advertise the permanent role later on in the year.

Chair of the NHS Digital Board, Laura Wade-Gery, said: “We are delighted that Simon is joining NHS Digital at what is a time of tremendous opportunity for us.

“The organisation has shown what it is capable of during the pandemic. It has stepped up and delivered digital programmes at unprecedented scale and pace which have undoubtably helped save lives.

“Simon will provide strong leadership for the organisation to maintain this momentum and build on what has been achieved over the last year, supporting and driving forward the wider NHS agenda of simultaneous restoration and transformation of services with digital at its heart.

Ditch the desks to increase productivity, UCL researchers say

New research on productivity in the office has led researchers to conclude smaller offices with window views enhance productivity of workers.

A survey was conducted by UCL at an international technology company in the centre of London, across four floors of the company’s headquarters. Staff with a large number of desks in their eye-line ranked their office experience less favourably, than those with fewer desks in their field of vision, and staff who had window views rated their experience higher than those facing walls.

Lead author Dr Kerstin Sailer (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL) said: “Our findings raise important questions regarding the current popular practice in workplace design of providing large open-plan offices for technology companies.

“In addition, in the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic, many organisations are wondering how to make workplaces attractive to staff. Our research offers insights into staff preferences on offices, where bigger is not always best.”

New cancer algorithm finds weakness in tumours

The University of Cambridge’s Department of Medical Genetics and MRC Cancer Unit have found a clinical algorithm makes it possible to identify tumours that have ‘mismatch repair deficiencies’ and then in result they can improve the personalisation of cancer therapies to exploit those weaknesses. 

Senior author, Dr Serena Nik-Zainal, a Cancer Research UK Advanced Clinician Scientist at Cambridge University’s MRC Cancer Unit, said: “When we knock out different DNA repair genes, we find a kind of fingerprint of that gene or pathway being erased. We can then use those fingerprints to figure out which repair pathways have stopped working in each person’s tumour, and what treatments should be used specifically to treat their cancer.”

Patient Access releases digital vaccination record

Patient Access, a healthcare app, has introduced a new feature where users can prove their vaccination status using their mobile phone.

The app uses the GP record of the user to display the status on their home screen.

Users can also see what vaccine they have been given, whether they have had one dose or two and when the vaccine was adminstered.

EMIS Group Chief Medical Officer Dr Shaun O’Hanlon said: “This new development makes it quick and easy for users of Patient Access to check – or prove – their Covid vaccination status.

“We are confident that it will be a practical and welcome resource for people as the government continues to relax Covid restrictions and there is an increasing need to be able to demonstrate vaccination status.”