The Department of Health has appointed Christine Connelly, a former chief information officer at Cadbury Schweppes, as the first CIO for Health, in a job expected to carry a salary of at least £200,000.
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The NHS's £12.7bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT) - the UK's largest IT programme - will be only part of her responsibilities.
David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS, is expected to remain the overall senior responsible owner of the NPfIT.
Reporting to Connelly will be Martin Bellamy, director of programme and system delivery, who will run NHS Connecting for Health, which is partly responsible for the NPfIT. Bellamy has been working for the Department for Work and Pensions since 2003, his main role being CIO of the Pension Service. His salary will also be around £200,000.
The appointments mean that the job of Richard Granger, who was director general of NHS IT and head of Connecting for Health, has been split into two. Granger, who was the highest paid Whitehall civil servant, left earlier this year.
The DoH said Connelly would focus on developing and delivering its overall information strategy and integrating leadership across the NHS and associated bodies, including NHS Connecting for Health and the Information Centre.
Bellamy will lead NHS Connecting for Health and focus on enhancing partnerships with and within the NHS.