Richard Granger has left NHS Connecting for Health, the NHS IT agency responsible for the £12.4bn NHS IT programme, he has led for the past five years.

CfH staff and NHS Chief Information Officers began to be notified of Granger’s departure this morning.

The announcement ends a period in which it has been unlcear the extent to which Granger has been running CfH. He had originally been due to quit by the end of 2007, after announcing in July that he would quit.

A DH spokesperson told E-Health Insider this morning that Granger will not be replaced by an equivalent director general, but instead by a new director of programme and systems delivery at CfH. A new role of Chief Information Officer will be created, based in the DH, covering both the DH and NHS.

The spokesperson said: “We’ve just had Cabinet Office agreement that we can go ahead and start filling these roles.”

Until these recruitments are completed Matthew Swindells, who is currently leading the DH’s Informatics Review, with act as the DH’s CIO. Gordon Hextall, the chief operating officer of CfH will act as director of programme and systems delivery.

As previously reported by EHI Matthew Swindells is understood to have been fulfilling the CIO role in all but name since the launch of the review of NHS informatics, encompassing the NHS National Programme for IT and CfH, last year. The Swindells review has now been wrapped up into Lord Darzi’s review into the the future of the NHS.

Granger’s last day working for the DH was 31 January, with his last official appearance being a speaking slot at the Arab Health Conference in Dubai.

 Jon Hoeksma