NHS England has published an advert for a ‘chief information and technology officer’ to replace its director of patients and information, Tim Kelsey, who is taking up a new job in Australia.

The ad, which appeared in The Times at the start of the week, does not put a salary on the new role, but says the commissioning board is looking for an “outstanding” individual.

“This is a visible and influential leadership position, and one that will impact on the lives of millions of people,” it says. “As such, it requires a truly inspirational and transformational leader who will bring a relentless focus on patients and their experience of healthcare.”

More concretely, the ad says the CI&TO will be required 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.”

Also, that while the post-holder will be based at NHS England, they will be expected to work with other national bodies, including NHS Improvement [which is replacing regulators Monitor and the Trust Development Authority], the Health and Social Care Information Centre, and the Department of Health.

The CI&TO will be the latest in a line of national information leaders that started with Richard Granger, the director general of NHS IT, who was brought in to drive through the National Programme for IT in 2002.

Granger was succeeded briefly by Matthew Swindells, now back at NHS England as commissioning director, and then by Christine Connelly, who was recruited from Cadbury Schweppes as the NHS’ first chief information officer in 2008.

Connelly spent most of her time in the job trying to get the national programme back on track, and endured some uncomfortable sessions at the Public Accounts Committee as a result.

She was succeeded by Katie Davis, who had originally been seconded from the Cabinet Office, after it became very involved in the renegotiation of CSC’s local service provider contract for the North, Midlands and East.

Kelsey’s arrival in 2012 was, arguably, something of a departure, as it shifted the focus from NPfIT’s acute implementation problems, and focused more attention on transparency and the use of data.

Kelsey announced  in September last year that he would be leaving to become commercial director of the Australian telco Telstra, which has bought Dr Foster, the Hospital Guide and data provider he co-founded before moving into government.

The ad for the latest incarnation of a national leader for NHS IT says they will play “a fundamental role in shaping England’s health and social care services for the future.”

 Applicants have until 5 February to get in touch with headhunters Odgers Berndtson, who are acting as ‘advising consultants’ for the recruitment.