Further appointments to the NHS Commissioning Board’s patients and information directorate have been made, drawing heavily on the private sector.

Just one of the four director posts has gone to someone currently working in the NHS, with Samantha Riley, director of information for service improvement at the NHS South of England’s quality observatory, being appointed director of insight.

The other three director posts have gone to:

• John Coulthard, the former senior director of healthcare and life sciences at Microsoft UK, who has been appointed director of customer relations,

• Beverley Bryant, who worked at the DH but is now managing director of Capita Health Division, who has been appointed director of strategic systems and technology, and

• Geraint Lewis, who developed the ‘virtual wards’ concept for NHS Croydon before going on to work for the Nuffield Trust and Walgreens, who has been appointed as director of open information.

All four will report to Tim Kelsey, the national director for patients and information, who said in a statement that he was delighted to have secured “such talented people” to “lead the transformation of transparency and participation in health and social care.

With the introduction of the government’s ‘Liberating the NHS’ reforms and the end of the national Programme for IT in the NHS, responsibility for national IT and information policy is being split between new organisations.

The slimmed down Department of Health will be responsible for policy, the NHS Commissioning Board for planning and purchasing standards, infrastructure and services, and the ‘new’ Health and Social Care Information Centre for delivering these.

At EHI Live 2012 last week, it emerged that a new informatics services commissioning group is being set up, chaired by Kelsey, to co-ordinate the work of the DH, NHS CB, and other national bodies with an interest in IT and information, and to be an “intelligent customer” for them.

However, it also emerged that the NHS CB is building its own ‘customer service platform’ to replace NHS Direct, NHS Choices, and other technology-enabled advice and transaction services.

The NHS CB statement suggests that Coulthard will be involved in this work, since it says he will “lead the programme to support the NHS to become a global leader in customer services… in particular by making new online, telephone and broadcast services inclusive and accessible.”

Coulthard was at Microsoft when it brought its HealthVault product to the UK, and focused on its development after the company lost its enterprise-wide agreement with the NHS for server and desktop products in 2010.

Bryant will “design and implement a new technology strategy in health and social care” and Lewis will focus on commissioning, information governance, and open data.

The statement says that he will “put high quality data at the heart of commissioning by leading the Care.data programme – a comprehensive data service to support improvement in patient outcomes and experience.”

The appointments complete the director level appointments to the NHS CB’s new directorate. There have also been some developments in the creation of clinical commissioning groups and commissioning support services over the past week.

The NHS CB has published the running costs for each CCG for the coming financial year.

As predicted, these have been set at a maximum of £25 per head of population per year, in order to meet the former ministerial team’s commitment to cut NHS administration costs by a third.

It has also announced that the NHS Business Services Authority will be the legal employer of CSS staff, and released a model service level agreement for CCGs to use with CSSs that it wants signed by the end of the month.