NHS top IT job to be split in two

The IT director general post previously filled by Richard Granger will be replaced by two separate executive roles

IT at the NHS will now be overseen by two £200,000-per-year executives, as compared to the previous single £280,000 IT director general post — filled by Richard Granger until January this year.

The decision to double up the IT roles was taken as part of an ongoing review of effective information use in the NHS amid a £12.4bn overhaul of IT in the NHS known as Connecting for Health.

The Department of Health advertised for a chief information officer to "focus on the big picture of delivering our overall IT vision" and a director of the IT programme and system delivery to "focus on managing NHS Connecting for Health and enhancing partnerships with and within the NHS".

There has been chop and change at the top in recent months, with interim chief information officer Matthew Swindells leaving this month and Sir Bruce Keogh becoming the new interim director for informatics, as well as retaining his position as national medical director.

Gordon Hextall will support Keogh in his role as interim director of informatics, in addition to Hextall's role as interim director of programme and system delivery, until the new appointments are made.

Connecting for Health will replace an ageing patchwork of 5,000 different computer systems with a nationwide infrastructure connecting more than 100,000 doctors, 380,000 nurses and 50,000 other health professionals.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "The creation of two positions will allow us to focus on the most effective use of IT across the department and the wider NHS.

"For the first time it creates a role where there is strategic oversight of the day-to-day running of IT such as desktop PCs to developing innovations in digital patient diagnostics."