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Architect of UK’s hated scheme quits NHS, flees from Britain

Tim Kelsey grabs the reins at Oz's Telstra Health next July

The architect of Blighty's hated scheme, Tim Kelsey, has today announced he will quit as the NHS's National Information Director.

Kelsey will leave the British health service in December and take the new role of director at Australia’s telecoms biz Telstra Health next July.

Curiously, the NHS did not list among his achievements in its press release announcing Kelsey's departure. The scheme has been subject to severe delays, due to the serious concerns regarding the sharing of sensitive personal data with private sector third parties.

Kelsey was appointed by the NHS in 2006 to set up the health service’s information website "NHS Choices", which along with was recently flagged by the Major Projects Authority as being as being at high risk of failure.

He became director of patients and information at the NHS in 2012, and National Information Director and chair of the new National Information Board in health and care last year.

Kelsey said he was pleased to have made the case for a more "digitally-enabled NHS" during his time at the body. "Over the last three years we have made significant progress on turning that aspiration into reality," he said.

"This is a human imperative: to put data and technology to work to empower people to take control, when they want to and shape the care they need," he added.

"The decision to leave has been one of the hardest I’ve made but I’m going to fulfil an ambition that will come as no surprise to those who know me well – to develop next generation digital services for patients and professionals that I hope will help all of us take more control of our health and care," said Kelsey.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: "Over the past three years Tim has brought his infectious energy and creative expertise to the vital drive for open, transparent and technology-enabled health services."

However, Phil Booth, director of patient privacy group medConfidential, said Kelsey had disregarded the issue of patient consent during his tenure.

“Tim’s gone back to his old job in the private sector, but serious questions of consent and transparency in NHS England remain unresolved," he said. ®

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