Health Education England is launching 20 digital health fellowships in response to the Topol review published last week, which warned that all NHS staff would need “digital and genomics literacy” by 2040.
It said nine out of 10 jobs in the health service would “require some element of digital skills” within 20 years, calling for further investment in training for the future and the existing workforce, including the development of skills necessary to assess and commission new tech.
“To achieve transformational change through digital healthcare technologies requires a renewed focus on workforce development as a continuous and integrated element of working life, which empowers as well as educates,” it stated.
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said the new programme would help staff “make a practical difference to their local NHS organisations and start them on a path to become CCIOs and CIOs”.
Applicants that will be selected will continue their current clinical role or training “on a less than full time basis”, according to HEE.
“The remainder will be spent on digital transformation in a combination of learning as part of a formal accredited programme, mentorship, and the delivery of digitally-enabled change in a health or care setting,” it said. “The fellowship can either be hosted locally via the host institution, or nationally across arms-length bodies.”
Dr Hatim Abdulhussein, HEE National Medical Directors Clinical Fellow, said in a blog for HEE that the initiative would “allow clinicians to combine their clinical training or current job with digital transformation work in their local host institutions”.
Applications for the programme are open until 4 March.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Hancock also announced that a new NHSX joint unit would be created to bring together leaders of the digital agenda across the health service, with responsibilities that would include revamping procurement and mandating standards for the use of technology in the NHS.
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