NHS seeks input of digital ‘lost tribes’ to guide £6m skills investment

Health and care workers invited to take part in consultation


Health and care workers across England are being asked for their input as part of a consultation programme, the findings of which will guide a £6m investment in building digital skills across the NHS.

NHS Digital and Health Education England have launched an “online conversation” process and, until 13 December, are seeking feedback from “anybody who uses data and technology as part of their role”. Participants are being asked to comment on how they could be better supported in using their digital skills to greater effect, as well as how the wider organisation could help “improve the digital maturity of others”.

In January a second phase, gathering input from “clinical groups with all levels of digital proficiency”, will follow.

Following the conclusion of both phases, the results will be used to guide the investment strategy of Health Education England’s Building a Digital Ready Workforce programme. Over the next four years, the initiative will invest £6m in growing digital skills within the health and care sector.

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Nic Fox, director of provider digitisation and programmes at NHS Digital, claimed that, in addition to guiding how money is invested, the consultation process “will also enable us to understand and meet the digital skills needs and expectations of the whole of the NHS workforce”.

“The learning from this consultation has the potential to be truly transformative”, she added. “It’s amassing an incredible wealth of experience, ideas and knowledge, and the more responses that are submitted, the greater the pool of knowledge will be.” 

Health and care professionals interested in taking part in the consultation – which is entirely anonymous – can make as many contributions as they wish. The programme is particularly interested to hear from representatives of professions it characterises as the “lost tribes”, whose digital talents can often be overlooked.

Its website says: “You might be a nurse, a physio, a surgeon or a porter, a GP, a practice nurse or receptionist, an IT director, helpdesk specialist or a medical-records coder, a clerk, or a finance director – the key is you have digital expertise.”


Sam Trendall

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