Doctor appointed to nurse NHS IT revamp back to health

Top IT job at NHS is now split into four
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Top IT job at NHS is now split into four

The Department of Health (DoH) has appointed a senior doctor to help oversee its revamp of NHS IT.

Charles Gutteridge, former medical director at Barts and the London NHS Trust, has been appointed to provide a clinical perspective on how new technology should be introduced in the NHS.

As DoH clinical director for informatics Gutteridge will report to DoH CIO Christine Connelly, after he takes up the post on 18 January.

Gutteridge, who described his role as encouraging "dialogue between clinical staff, patients and informatics providers", said in a statement that he believed there had been a positive "sea change" in attitudes among doctors towards the £12.7bn project to overhaul NHS IT, the National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

While working at the Trust Gutteridge chaired the Clinical Informatics Design Authority, which gave clinical advice about improving the use of the Trust's new patient administration system.

Gutteridge also works as a consultant haematologist at Barts Hospital and at Newham General Hospital, both in London, and was involved in providing clinical advice to Lord Darzi's review of health provision in the capital.

The creation of the new role of clinical director for informatics at the DoH brings the number of people overseeing NHS IT to four: namely Gutteridge; the DoH CIO Christine Connelly; DoH head of programmes and operations Tim Donohoe; and DoH head of resources, services and governance Carol Clarke. Until January 2008 NHS IT was overseen by one person, the then NHS director general of IT Richard Granger.

Gutteridge's appointment will help address concerns that the DoH has failed to ask NHS frontline health staff what technology they wanted when designing and implementing the NPfIT, a criticism that was first raised by the Office of Government Commerce in a review in 2004.

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