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A year of achievement

22 December 2016: NHS Digital chief executive Andy Williams looks back at the organisation's achievements in 2016 and looks forward to the new year.

NHS Digital has come a long way in the past 12 months.

We started the year as the Health and Social Care Information Centre - an organisation that was essential to the running of the health and care system but that few members of the public had ever heard of. We ended the year as NHS Digital.

In just 12 months we have moved from a concept on how the National Information Board's plans for digital transformation would be funded, to full-scale mobilisation.

We completed the largest mailbox migration in the world, transferring the accounts of more than a million people to the new NHSmail 2 platform.

By September, the e-Referral Service had saved the NHS £10 million, an achievement that is critical to the sustainability of our health and care system.

We are also seeing better traction for key services. Our Summary Care Record team, for instance, recently announced that half of all community pharmacies are now using the system, which means improved decision making in pharmacies, reduced waiting times and less load on GPs.

Our data services and publications are the health and care system's nervous system and publications like September's Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, and the recent Health Survey for England not only inform policy, research and clinical decisions, but will shape society's understanding of key areas of health and care for years to come. 

As we move into Christmas and the New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all NHS staff - both those in NHS Digital and further afield. The festive season brings particular challenges, both for people working on the front line of patient care, and for those who support them. I never cease to be awed and humbled by their dedication.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful and joyful festive season.

Andy Williams

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