• NHS England begins search for first chief information and technology officer
  • Job advert says role will be a “visible and influential leadership position”
  • Candidate will oversee “strategic procurement and successful implementation” of IT priorities

NHS England has launched the recruitment process for its first chief information and technology officer.

The national commissioning body is creating the new role due to the departure of national director for patients and information Tim Kelsey, who is leaving to take up a private sector role in Australia this month.

Tim Kelsey

Tim Kelsey

The new role is not as wide ranging as Tim Kelsey’s brief

The job advert, placed in The Sunday Times on 11 January, said NHS England and NHS Improvement were looking for “a truly inspirational and transformational leader” to fill a “visible and influential leadership position”.

It said: “NHS England and NHS Improvement seek an outstanding new chief information and technology officer to lead for the NHS nationally the strategic procurement and successful implementation of the information and technology priorities that will support a modern, sustainable health and care system.

“Based at NHS England, but working with other national bodies including NHS Improvement, the Health and Social Care Information Centre and the Department of Health, the CITO will ensure the benefits of information and technology investments in nationally funded programmes are realised, support local health and care systems to digitally enable their planning, commissioning and care delivery, and transform public access to information tools and services.”

Potential candidates have until 5 February to apply. Recruitment agency Odgers Berndtson is overseeing the process.

HSJ revealed last year that NHS England was planning to recruit a CITO following Mr Kelsey’s departure. At the time, a senior source familiar with the plans said the new position was comparable, but not identical, to the role played in Whitehall by the government’s chief technology officer Liam Maxwell.

The new role is not as wide ranging as Mr Kelsey’s brief but an email sent to staff in November by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, seen by HSJ, said the new director would take “forward [Mr Kelsey’s] leadership of the information and technology agenda for the NHS and wider system”.

The NHS has an ambitious target to be paperless at the point of care by 2020. Successful technology implantations will be key to underpinning the new models of care set out in the Five Year Forward View, making the new position a key role.