EDITORIAL BOARD Irene Anderson, Principal Lecturer and Reader in Learning and Teaching in Healthcare Practice, University of Her tfordshire Steve Ashurst, Critical Care Nurse Lecturer, Maelor Hospital, Wrexham Christopher Barber, Freelance Lecturer and Writer Jacqueline Boulton, Lecturer in Adult Nursing, Faculty Lead for student mobility, electives and global health, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifer y & Palliative Care, King’s College London Beverley Brathwaite, Senior lecturer University of Roehampton Nicholas Castle, Head of Professions/ Assistant Executive Director, Hamad Medical Corporation Ambulance Ser vice, Qatar Jothi Clara J Micheal, Group Director – Nursing, Global Hospitals Group, India Emma Collins, Nurse Consultant, Sexual Health In Plymouth, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust Alison Coull, Lecturer at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh Angela Grainger, Senior Lecturer, BPP University Barr y Hill, Assitant Professor of Nursing Science and Critical Care, Nor thumbria University Helen Holder, Senior Lecturer, Nursing Studies, Birmingham City University Mina Karamshi, Specialist Sister in Radiology, Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead Felicia Kwaku, Associate Director of Nursing/Senior Head of Nursing Acute Speciality Medicine, Kings Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Chair Chief Nursing Officer & Chief Midwifer y Officer’s Black Minority Ethnic Strategic Advisor y Group,NHS England Jacqueline Leigh, Professor Nurse Education Practice School Health & Society, University of Salford John McKinnon, Senior Lecturer, School of Health and Social Care, University of Lincoln Aby Mitchell, Senior Lecturer in Nursing Education, King’s College London Joy Notter, Professor, Birmingham City University & Saxion University of Applied Science, Netherlands Hilar y Paniagua, Principal Lecturer/Head of Doctoral Studies Faculty of Health & Well Being at the University of Wolverhampton Ian Peate, Programme Director University Glasgow Singapore Jo Rixon, Head of Nursing (Croydon), University of Roehampton Kendra Schneller, Nurse Practitioner, Health Inclusion Team – Vulnerable Adults and Prevention Ser vices, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust John Tingle, Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham Geoffrey Walker, Matron for Medicine, Cardiology and Specialist Nursing Ser vices Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Jamie Waterall, Deputy Chief Public Health Nurse, Office for Health Improvement & Disparities; Honorar y Professor, University of Nottingham Cate Wood, Senior Lecturer, University of Winchester
From three into one Barry Hill, Assistant Professor of Nursing Science and Critical Care, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne (barr y.hill@nor thumbria.ac.uk)
The recent merger of Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England into a single organisation represents a significant development in the provision of healthcare services in England. The move is intended to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and ultimately enhance patient care. However, the merger also raises questions about the impact on healthcare providers and the delivery of healthcare services.
The merger provides an opportunity to address the challenges resulting from the pandemic and to ensure that healthcare providers are well-equipped to meet the evolving needs of patients and the public that patient pr ivacy and confidentiality are protected. Although NHS England has stated that it will uphold the independence of NHS Digital, there are concerns that the merger could lead to increased centralisation and a loss of autonomy for the digital organisation.
As the newly merged NHS England works to
One of the pr imary responsibilities of the newly formed organisation is to ensure that the healthcare workforce possesses the appropr iate skills and values necessary to deliver exceptional healthcare and health improvement to patients and the public. This includes ensur ing that healthcare providers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to provide high-quality care to patients. The merger will enable NHS England to take on the responsibilities previously held by Health Education England, such as the development of training programmes and continuing professional development opportunities for healthcare providers.
In addition to workforce development, the merger is also expected to have an impact on the way in which healthcare providers access and use patient data. As an organisation responsible for operating cr itical national IT systems, NHS England will play a central role in the management and analysis of patient data. This means that healthcare providers will have increased access to patient information, enabling them to provide more personalised care that is tailored to the specific needs of each patient.
Although increased access to patient data can be beneficial for healthcare providers in terms of providing personalised care, there are concerns about the potential impact on patient pr ivacy and confidentiality. As an organisation responsible for managing and safeguarding sensitive patient data, NHS Digital has operated independently to ensure ensure that the healthcare workforce possesses the appropr iate skills and values necessary to deliver exceptional healthcare and health improvement to patients and the public, in turn, healthcare providers can provide valuable insights and expertise to shape the direction of healthcare services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed significant strain on healthcare services, highlighting the need for increased investment in healthcare education, training and development to ensure that healthcare providers are equipped to meet the needs of patients in challenging circumstances.
The merger provides an opportunity to address the challenges of the pandemic and to ensure that healthcare providers are wellequipped to meet the evolving needs of patients and the public.
As well as the impact on healthcare providers, the merger is also expected to have an impact on the delivery of healthcare services more broadly. With NHS England now assuming responsibility for all tasks previously car r ied out by Health Education England and NHS Digital, the organisation should be better placed to deliver on its mission to provide exceptional healthcare and health improvement to patients and the public. However, there are also concerns about the potential for increased centralisation of healthcare services.
By working closely with NHS England and other stakeholders, healthcare providers can help to ensure that the delivery of healthcare services is responsive to the changing needs of patients and the public. BJN
British Journal of Nursing, 2023, Vol 32, No 8