Blogs, Interview

Interview Series: Les Manley, Director of ICT, Kent and Medway NHS

Over the next few weeks we aim to interview health tech leaders from across the market. First we caught up with Les Manley, Director of ICT at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust.

What technology projects are you working on at the moment?

Our major projects this year focus on refreshing our entire wireless network infrastructure, migrating the organisation to NHSMail, and refreshing some of our older technology infrastructure.  We have a number of smaller scale developments including updates and improvements to our clinical information system and to our digital dictation system.  We are running a few trials including voice recognition and a system for advice & guidance between mental health consultants and GPs.  We are also working with colleagues to expand our access to primary care information, participating in an initiative to share care plans across organisations, and to make mental health crisis plans available to the ambulance service.  We are heavily involved in STP work including the digital workstream.

What problems/challenges are they set to overcome?

The above chiefly addresses two high-level objectives; to ensure our technology performs well and remains fit-for-purpose, and to improve our use of technology to better support health and care.

What is the most significant digital achievement for you in the past 12 months?

Although I could identify a number of technology projects, it is probably the establishment of a new in-house IT Support Service.  This had to be implemented quickly after we received notice that the Kent and Medway Health Informatics Service was to be shut-down.  Our in-house team was established on April 1st last year and from the start has delivered a more responsive and more dependable service.  Staff satisfaction with our IT services and support has consequently improved considerably.  This is important because we cannot expect to have credible conversations about technology-enabled clinical transformation all the time clinicians are struggling with technology and poor support.

What will be the most significant in the next 12 months?

We have plans to introduce a number of technology improvements next year including electronic observations, electronic correspondence, further clinical information system improvements, and more integration with health and care partners.  Potentially, the most significant development will again not be a technology project, it will be a new digital governance framework for our organisation.  If we get this right our digitally-enabled clinical transformation programmes will step up a gear, perhaps two.

What is your biggest technology challenge?

At an organisational level our biggest challenge is funding, demands on capital exceed availability and revenue is already overstretched.  In most  cases this limits the pace of our developments but in one or two cases the funding gap is just too great and without help the investment cannot be made for the foreseeable future.

What is the most under-rated digital innovation in health?

Probably the smartphone, potentially FHIR.


– Thank you to Les Manley