The first chair of the NHS Information Authority is to be Professor Alistair Bellingham, NHS chief executive Sir Alan Langlands told the Healthcare Computing conference in Harrogate this week. The newly formed special health authority begins operations in April. Its role is to co-ordinate implementation of the new Information for Health strategy. Professor Bellingham is best known for chairing a 1995 NHS Executive committee on improving patient information protection.

Health minister John Denham announced on Monday that primary care groups have been awarded£20m to update information technology.