A mysterious woman, with a non-London accent and blonde hair, reached out her hand. She asked me a simple, yet terrifying, question - "Do you want to come on an adventure?"
Sadly, Hadley Beeman does not have a TARDIS (Well, as far as any of us can tell...). What she does have is an interesting new job for me. Take a deep breath, because it's a heck of a long title:
Senior Technology Advisor to the Chief Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Sweet! So, what does a STAttCTAttSoSfHaSC do? Apart from scoring 25 points in Scrabble, obviously?
I'm going to help improve the health and social care system - within and beyond the NHS. Not all of it, and not necessarily the bits that you'll see, but some of the deep magick which runs the technology behind it.
My job will be to keep saying "Hey! Let's use internationally recognised, free and open standards. Y'know, rather than handing a single company a life-long monopoly."
I'll also occasionally point my Sonic Screwdriver at a bit of kit and say "If we reverse the polarity of the neutron flow, we may be able to replace this with Open Source Software."
This is akin to redesigning and replacing the engine of a plane, while it is in flight. Without losing altitude or causing the passengers any discomfort. While under attack from Weeping Angels.
If I'm lucky, the team will help set the course for the future of NHS technology. I'm not talking AI-powered iPhone apps to show you your polyps in virtual reality - I'm talking about your consultant being able to share data with your GP without resorting to SnapChat. Or fax.
Can we put user needs at the heart of technology standards decisions? Can we give Clinical Commissioning Groups the tools and frameworks they need to make smarter decisions about technology? Can we make things open and make things better?
There's only one way to find out...!
This is a temporary secondment. I'm grateful to the whole team at GDS for letting me go on this adventure. Much like the Meta-Crisis 10th Doctor (do keep up), this role has a limited lifespan. Looks like the 2019 season of "The Terence Eden Adventures" is going to be epic!