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Care.data chief Tim Kelsey to leave NHS England

NHS England’s digital chief will leave the organisation in December to take up a new role with Telstra Health in Australia

Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s director of patients and information, is due to leave his role in December 2015 to move to Australia.

Kelsey will join Australian company Telstra Health as commercial director. The move comes as Telstra bought UK-based health informatics company Dr Foster Intelligence in March 2015, of which Kelsey was one of the co-founders.

Since he joined NHS England, Kelsey has been responsible for overseeing IT strategy, making greater use of data for better health outcomes. In 2014, he was appointed chair of the National Information Board, which is leading the project to achieve a paperless NHS by 2020.

He has also been responsible for the controversial Care.data programme, which aims to extract anonymised patient data from GPs to a central database held by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Commenting on his departure, Kelsey said it had been a “privilege” to work at NHS England.

“Together we have made the case for a digitally enabled NHS in which patients are encouraged to participate. Over the past three years, we have made significant progress on turning that aspiration into reality,” he said.

“The decision to leave has been one of the hardest I’ve made, but I’m going to fulfil an ambition that will come as no surprise to those who know me well – to develop next-generation digital services for patients and professionals that I hope will help all of us take more control of our health and care.”

NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, said Kelsey had brought “his infectious energy and creative expertise to the vital drive for open, transparent and technology-enabled health services”.

“It’s no surprise that other countries now want to emulate that success, so as the NHS moves into the implementation phase of the strategy Tim has helped craft, we wish him every success as he shifts gear to working in Australia and internationally,” he said.

Kelsey, who was originally a journalist for the Sunday Times, co-founded Dr Foster Intelligence in 2000. The Department of Health bought a 50% stake in the company six years later and Kelsey left the company to take up a job with consultancy firm McKinsey.

He then became the Cabinet Office’s transparency tsar before joining NHS England in 2012 as the organisation was established. .................................................................

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