More than six months after the departure of Richard Granger, the government has appointed a new NHS chief information officer and as well as a new director of system delivery on its ongoing £12.7 billion National Programme for IT.

Christine Connelly, former CIO at Cadbury Schweppes and a head of IT at BP, will take the helm as CIO for health. She starts in September.

Martin Bellamy is now the new director of programme and system delivery, and new head of Connecting for Health, which is responsible for the national programme. Bellamy was formerly CIO at the Pension Service and senior responsible officer for information management in the ‘change programme’ at the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Department of Health has undergone a restructure of its executive make-up. In April, the department announced it would split the role of CIO, formerly held by Granger, into two. Both roles were advertised at the time with salaries of £200,000, though no details of the actual pay have been announced.

Granger, who gave an explosive interview to CIO, announced he would leave his post at NHS in June 2007, and left Whitehall in February 2008.

As an interim measure, Matthew Swindells filled the hot seat, but only held the post for two months before leaving in April to join consultants Tribal Group.

Gordon Hextall will stay on as chief operating officer at the NHS.

Connelly’s role will be to develop and deliver the NHS information strategy and integrate the leadership between NHS Connecting for Health, the agency that is responsible for the national programme, and other health bodies. Bellamy will lead NHS Connecting for Health.

David Nicholson, NHS chief executive, said: "I am delighted that Christine and Martin have accepted these key posts. Together they bring a breadth of skills and experience that will be invaluable as we continue the roll out of new and innovative systems that are helping NHS staff to transform the services they provide for patients.

"The creation of these two roles enhances both the strategic management of information in the health and social care system and the delivery of NHS Connecting for Health."

Connelly and Bellamy join the ranks during a turbulent time in the NPfIT. Supplier Fujitsu quit the programme in May, leaving local trusts in the south of England assessing alternative proposals from BT and CSC, suppliers in other parts of the country, as well as from a list of additional suppliers.

Separately, the first London rollout of the new version of a key care records system, which went live in June at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, caused “chaos” at the hospital according to a local newspaper report.

The NHS also refuted the results of a University College London report that said its flagship Choose and Book appointments system was not delivering the promised choices of hospital bookings to patients.

Related stories:

Departing NHS CIO tells IT to play its part