The departure of Martin Bellamy, who heads the implementation of the £12.7bn NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), is likely to add to uncertainties in the organisation, according to the NHS's head of IT.
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The disclosure was made in an internal e-mail from NHS CIO Christine Connelly, in which she calls on her staff not to forget "the real appetite out in the NHS for quality informatics".
Bellamy is leaving the Department of Health after only nine months as head of NHS Connecting for Health to take up a position with the Cabinet Office managing the G-Cloud government-wide cloud computing strategy.
Computer Weekly understands that Bellamy's job description was not clearly defined. One executive who works in the NHS said that Bellamy had vague responsibilities for everything and clear responsibilities for virtually nothing.
The Department of Health created Bellamy's job after splitting the role of Richard Granger, previously head of Connecting Health and director general of NHS IT into two new positions.
Connelly took on the job of NHS CIO and Bellamy was appointed director of programme and systems delivery, reporting to Connelly.
Both jobs came with salaries of at least £200,000 each.
Connelly said in an e-mail: "The challenges ahead are tough, particularly in the acute sector, but achievable and we are united behind our objectives for the remainder of the year. Collectively we remain absolutely focused on all key deliverables.
"It is important for us to all maintain the momentum of delivery that we have collectively worked hard to establish, and we will continue to enhance our capabilities and our skills to deliver the very best solutions for patients and the NHS.
"The ultimate outcome - creating the best electronic healthcare systems and services in the world to help save lives and improve the quality of care - is an ambition we can all aspire to and share.
"I know that with change comes uncertainty for employees - and this news probably fuels that uncertainty - but let's not forget the real appetite out in the NHS for quality informatics and the capability we have already shown in delivering an information infrastructure for one of the largest organisations in the world," she said.
Connelly drew attention to the range of systems that are used every day in the NHS, such as PACS and Choose and Book, to improve patient care.
Under the re-organisation group programme director Tim Donohoe becomes head of programmes and operations. Carol Clarke takes overall responsibility for the enabling functions within the Informatics Directorate, according to her e-mail dated 22 June 2009. They will report to Connelly.
Government CIO John Suffolk has commented on the G-Cloud initiative on the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum.