The future of NHS IT agency Connecting for Health is up in the air, with the Department of Health today confirming it has not advertised the post of its departing director general and the organisation’s “management arrangements” are under review.
Connecting for Health chief Richard Granger announced his plans to quit in June, giving the DoH six months to recruit a successor before his departure at the end of the year.
But asked whether Granger’s post has been advertised either externally or internally, a DoH spokesperson said: “No.”
It is unclear what plans the DoH has for Connecting for Health, which runs the £12.4bn National Programme for IT.
The DoH said NHS chief executive had set up a review of “how the NHS uses informatics to improve patient care”. But the spokesperson added: “This is not a review of Connecting for Health or the National Programme for IT, but the contribution of both will be included within this wider work, as recommended by Ara Darzi in his NHS Next Stage Review.”
Health minister Lord Darzi published an interim report on his review of the NHS and its future earlier this month, promising to examine ways to ensure the huge NHS computer scheme delivers clinical benefits. But Darzi failed to reply to a letter from Martyn Thomas, one of the 23 computing academics who has called for an independent review of NPfIT’s feasibility.
But Nicholson’s review will examine the NHS’s IT leadership. “In the light of these developments, David now thinks the time is right to look closely at what skills and management arrangements we need to take Connecting for Health forward,” the DoH spokesperson confirmed. “We expect to be able to outline this before the end of the year.”
Ministers confirmed earlier this year that Granger – currently the UK’s highest paid civil servant on £290,000 a year – will not be getting a golden handshake when he leaves.
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