NHS IT revamp in temporary hands as DoH CIO Connelly quits

Katie Davis appointed stand-in CIO after current NHS IT chief resigns...
Written by Shelley Portet, Contributor

Katie Davis appointed stand-in CIO after current NHS IT chief resigns...

Christine Connelly has resigned from her post as CIO at DoH

Christine Connelly has resigned from her post as CIO at the Department of HealthPhoto: NHS

Department of Health (DoH) CIO Christine Connelly has resigned after three years in the post.

The resignation pre-empts a reorganisation within the DoH management which will result in fewer director general posts.

"I have been reflecting on whether I would wish to go for one of those roles and decided that I will not," she said in a statement.

According to Connelly, her time as CIO at the DoH has been "fascinating" and "challenging" but she added it is "the right time to step back and think about what I might do next".

She will be replaced on a temporary basis by Katie Davis, who joins from her role as executive director of operational excellence in the efficiency and reform group at the Cabinet Office, from 1 July.

Before joining the DoH in 2008, Connelly, a computer science graduate from Aberdeen University, spent three years as CIO at Cadbury Schweppes. She has also held various IT roles at BP.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley praised Connelly for her contribution as the first CIO of the NHS.

Over the course of her career, Connelly has featured on both silicon.com's CIO50 list of the most influential heads of IT in the UK as well as the government IT agenda setters list of the individuals with the greatest influence on how technology is used to transform the public sector.

Connelly is best known for taking over stewardship of the ongoing National Programme for IT (NPfIT), the multibillion-pound scheme to overhaul technology in the NHS.

Since the NPfIT started in 2002, the project's aim has been to replace an ageing patchwork of 5,000 systems serving clinicians across England.

Despite the success of projects to help hospitals share digital scans and build a national broadband network for the NHS, the programme has become mired in controversy over delays to the implementation of new electronic patient record systems in hospitals. Connelly recently advised a parliamentary committee that scrapping an NHS scheme to digitalise patient records could cost more than it would to continue with the project.

Sir David Nicholson, chief exec of the NHS, said Connelly has made a major contribution to the NHS.

"She has tackled a very difficult set of issues around the National Programme for IT, and moved them forward. I wish her well in her future career," Nicholson said in a statement.

"Christine has brought a huge amount of experience, talent and technical knowledge to the National Programme for IT," Lansley said.

"I wish Christine the best of luck with whatever she chooses to do next," he added.

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