The chief executive of a foundation trust installing IT outside the national programme has said its actions are validated by last week's informatics review.

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals foundation trust announced its joint venture with the US healthcare provider University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre earlier this year.

The partnership plans to deploy an electronic record system in the trust's hospitals within the next 18 months. It also hopes to develop IT services for the rest of the NHS.

Trust chief executive Sir Leonard Fenwick told HSJ that the informatics review "reinforces the perspective we have taken".

"We are providing some measure of self sufficiency but we will still follow national standards and interact with the spine," he said.

Sir Leonard's comments came as former Department of Health interim chief information officer Matthew Swindells acknowledged that the advent of foundation trusts and plural providers had required a change in the "philosophy and direction" of the national programme.

Mr Swindells, who left in April to become managing director for health at consultancy Tribal, said the programme, with its central spine and set of data and technical standards, was now the "core hub" around which NHS and independent providers could innovate and integrate.

He said NHS organisations could expect to be able to agree a specification with NHS Connecting for Health for their own systems, which could integrate into the national hub.

There will be no additional central funding for IT systems outside the national programme, except where the deployment of interim systems is included in the contracts of national programme local service providers.

Mr Swindells said the NHS did not want more central funding but wanted clarity so that it can "make its own business cases".

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said IT was the enabler of information. This was ever more crucial to developing and commissioning health services.

The Information Centre would now act as the commissioner of CfH, one of its first priorities being the development of systems to "fill the gaps" in health and social care data - particularly in primary and community care and social services.