NHS England will recruit a new 'chief information and technology officer' to replace Tim Kelsey.

Kelsey, who is currently director of patients and information at the commissioning board, is stepping down next month to take on a new role in Australia.

The chief information and technology officer role will encompass strategy, commissioning and delivery assurance, with the delivery role played by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

An internal email sent to NHS England staff by chief executive Simon Stevens, seen by the Health Service Journal, says the new director will take “forward [Kelsey’s] leadership of the information and technology agenda for the NHS and wider system."

As reported in HSJ, “The [chief information and technology officer] will chair the National Information Board and will ensure the benefits of technology investments in nationally funded programmes are realised, support local health and care systems to embed core digital standards in their services, and transform public access to information tools and services.”

Kelsey has been with NHS England since 2012 and was appointed chair of the NIB last year, which is leading on the drive towards a 'paperless NHS' by 2018 and integrated health and social care records by 2020.

The email adds that the new chief will have: “Specific responsibility for commissioning modern data services that will provide commissioners, clinicians and patients with the analytic resources they need, and technology programmes to support the needs of commissioners and primary care and future care models."

Kelsey’s new role is commercial director at Telstra Health, the healthcare arm of Australia-based telecommunications company Telstra, which bought Kelsey’s former company Dr Foster Intelligence earlier this year.

In an opinion piece, Digital Health News editor Jon Hoeksma argues that while Kelsey is known as an ideas man, his true legacy may have been to make the case for further investment in technology within Whitehall and to create the National Information Board at the heart of health service planning and delivery. He also considers what kind of leader NHS It needs next.