Connecting for Health key official suspended

A top official has been suspended at a critical stage in the NHS programme to implement electronic health records and hospital...

A top official has been suspended at a critical stage in the NHS programme to implement electronic health records and hospital appointment-booking systems.

David Kwo, regional implementation director for the NHS Connecting for Health London cluster, has been suspended from duty to allow an investigation into allegations that have been received, Connecting for Health said in a statement.

"He will remain suspended until such time as the investigation has been completed. The suspension is not a judgement, but a precautionary measure to ensure that an appropriate and fair investigation can take place.

"In the interim, Martyn Forrest, regional implementation director for the North East cluster, will be acting regional implementation director for London." Connecting for Health refused to comment further on the nature of the allegations or how long the investigation was expected to take.

Health IT staff in London and Capital Care Alliance, the BT-led consortium for the London implementation of the programme, are likely to be concerned about how Forrest can take on the additional workload in an already demanding roll-out programme.

Staffing problems at the top of the NHS IT project were exacerbated by the resignation of two senior officials responsible for the delivery of modernisation in just over a year.

Last April, Peter Hutton resigned his position as chairman of the National Clinical Advisory Board, the key body for ensuring clinician involvement in the development of the NHS IT project.

Then in September last year Aidan Halligan, deputy chief medical officer and joint senior responsible officer of the national programme for IT, as Connecting for Health was then known, said he was leaving to take up the top post in the Irish health service.

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