Gordon Hextall, the chief
operating officer of
NHS Connecting for Health

Gordon Hextall, the chief operating officer of NHS Connecting for Health, will leave in April after five years with the agency.

Hextall is one of the longest-serving senior executives at CfH, having held the position of chief operating officer since the beginning of 2004. He was also acting as head of the agency for most of 2008.

Hextall served as right hand man to larger-than-life director general of NHS IT Richard Granger until his departure in January 2008. Hextall once joked to E-Health Insider: “Richard’s in-tray is my in-tray.”

Hextall was replaced as acting head of CfH in September 2008 by Martin Bellamy, director of programme and systems delivery. He remained in place since to ensure a smooth transition.

Offering warm praise to Hextall, Bellamy said in an internal letter last week: “I want to place on record my appreciation of the outstanding contribution Gordon has made to the success of CfH during the five years he has worked on the National Programme.

“I recognise that without his leadership and extraordinary hard work CfH would not have achieved as much as it has.”

Before joining what was then the National Programme for IT in the NHS, Hextall was chief operating officer for the modernisation programme at the Department of Work and Pensions, a programme he said was initially very similar to NPfIT.

"There is only £100,000 difference between the two programmes," Hextall told E-Health Insider in April 2004. Estimates of the costs of the NHS IT programme later escalated to £12.7 billion.

Hextall had a long history of working with Richard Granger, initially employing him as a management consultant at DWP, dating back to the early 1990s. The move will form part of a much wider shake-up of CfH and Department of Health IT senior management.