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Stephen Frith

Programme Director - Digital Services for Patient and Public - Digital Health & Care Wales

Stephen Frith has worked in NHS informatics for over 30 years.  After a career in the NHS, culminating in running the informatics department at the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital, Stephen worked in the commercial sector establishing XML-based NHS messaging platforms before moving to the NHS Information Authority.  Subsequently, Stephen has worked on a number of very large-scale government IT programmes, including as a commercial lead for the NHS network, N3 and the all-Wales shared networking platform, PSBA.

His experience includes working on single record programmes in England and in Wales, the development of the pilot for My Heath on Line, the design and delivery of complex IT change programmes, and the delivery of large-scale public sector infrastructure programmes.

Stephen’s principal current interests focus on helping the public sector to get organised and become an extremely intelligent client, resetting the balance with the commercial sector.   This is driven by a firm belief that well-structured commercial arrangements deliver real benefits to both commercial partners and the wider public sector.  Collaboration and joined-up thinking within the public sector is key to creating programmes where the industry can innovate to bring rapid value and where the public sector can achieve real value for the public purse.  For this reason, you will find that Stephen is always ready to talk about inclusive stakeholder engagement and robust, representative programme governance.

Stephen feels extremely privileged to be working as the Programme Director for the Welsh Digital Services for the Patients and the Public (DSPP) programme, giving him both the opportunity and responsibility to put over twenty years of detailed preparation into practice in an area that holds extreme personal interest.  In this role, the need to balance the innovation and progress that can be unleashed with open health data on the one hand, against the equally fundamental needs of data integrity and protection of personal data for individuals on the other, defines the knife-edge on which progress needs to be made.

Stephen lives with his partner in West Wales where a family with three young boys and an out-of-control DIY project to renovate a Pembrokeshire farmhouse leave little time to pursue his other passions of sailing and classic cars.  He does find time, however, to follow a self-invented course to study all things wine-related, a course based largely on empirical research.