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Sarah Wilkinson CEO at NHS Digital

Profile

Sarah Wilkinson is the CEO of NHS Digital, responsible for the vast array of digital and IT elements of one of the most complex organisations in the world. As well as the infrastructure that underpins every aspect, from GPs surgeries to entire hospital trusts, she also ensures the organisation is ready for a future that might hold tailored healthcare, data from wearable technologies and AI diagnosis.

Before taking charge of the NHS’s technological division, Sarah was the Home Office’s Chief Digital, Data and Technology Officer (effectively the CIO). She had overall responsibility for the computer systems of everything from individual police constabularies to the e-Border system to counter-terrorism and stretching from procurement to cybersecurity.

Sarah originally studied mathematics which led her into risk analysis and in turn to coding. She served as CIO at Deutsche Bank, UBS and HSBC before joining Credit Suisse as Head of Corporate Systems Technology. After over two decades of risk and running IT systems in the financial sector, she moved to Whitehall. 

With the Home Office Sarah took over IT projects notorious for their complexity, but also for delays and overspends. She was charged with tackling the department’s many problems from an over-dependence on large contractors to
failing IT programmes. 

As head of NHS Digital Sarah is responsible for ensuring the security of highly sensitive data, the procurement of multi-million pound infrastructure, and the maintenance and integration of a wide array of systems. She also has to ensure the service is fit for massive future challenges, both structurally and technologically. All within one of the most scrutinised, financially
constrained organisations in the country.

Alongside her NHS role Sarah is Non-Executive Director of the Police ICT Company, a
member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee of Kings College London, and a
member of the advisory boards of the Department of Computing at Imperial College and the Department of Maths at Oxford University. She has featured in Computer Weekly’s Top 50 Most Influential Leaders in the UK IT Industry and their 50 Most Influential Women in IT, as well as being named in CIO Magazine’s CIO 100.

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