The Department of Health is to make two key IT appointments after the departure of Richard Granger, former head of the National Programme for IT [NPfIT], an internal letter has revealed.
The letter confirms the government is conducting a review of NHS informatics, including the NPfIT, under Matthew Swindells, policy adviser to the secretary of state for health.
The letter is by Gordon Hextall, interim director of the NPfIT and systems delivery at NHS Connecting for Health, which runs parts of the national programme.
Dated 6 February 2008, the letter praises Granger for the "major success in rolling out technology-enabled change to the NHS under his leadership". It says he has now left having led the NPfIT since 2002.
Hextall reveals the Department of Health plans to recruit a chief information officer with the status of director-general who will report directly to David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS.
There are also plans to recruit a director of IT programme and system delivery who will take over Granger's role. This appointment will be at a lower level - the winning applicant will report to the new CIO.
Mathew Swindells who is working on the NHS "Informatics Review" with David Nicholson and Hugh Taylor, permanent secretary at the Department of Health, is interim CIO.
Hextall says that CfH's remit will be widened from running the national programme only, to being accountable for "all nationally-coordinated major IT programmes across the NHS".
Computer Weekly has campaigned for an independent, published review of NHS IT - but it is unclear whether the Informatics Review is an independent assessment. The results are due to be published in the spring.