Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s director of patients and information, is leaving his post in December to take on a new role on the other side of the World as commercial director at Telstra Health, a division of Australia’s leading telecoms provider.

Kelsey was co-founder of healthcare information group Dr Foster Intelligence, which was bought out by Telstra earlier this year, paving the way for his move into the company.

“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,” he said. 

Kelsey joined NHS England in 2012, taking responsibility for data and technology as well as patient and public participation and communications. Last year he was also appointed National Information Director and chair of the new National Information Board in health and care.

Perhaps most notably, Kelsey was responsible for the ultra controversial Care.data programme, which is designed to link patient data from GPs to a central database at the Health and Social Care Information Centre, but has been marred by a series of failings and setbacks that have seriously dented confidence in the scheme.

"We recognise that patients have concerns about data safety and we will do everything we can to protect their information and build their trust,” Kelsey said, and noted that work with the ongoing pilot pathfinder schemes will continue over the coming weeks and months to fine-tune the system.