Digital health and care strategy: enabling, connecting and empowering

A refreshed strategy is available at (October 2021).

Workforce Capability

Domain D

Workforce development in digital skills and capabilities across the whole health and care sector underpin the successful uptake and use of digital technologies. Strong leadership is required at all levels to drive forward the transformation of services, support innovation and champion the use of information and knowledge to improve decision making and service delivery.

Chief Digital Officers, Chief Data Officers, Chief Technology Officers, Chief Clinical Information Officers and other similar roles at an executive/ board level grade are increasingly becoming the norm in organisations of all shapes and sizes. Whilst there are a number of individual leaders and experts overseeing aspects of the system, the Health and Sport Committee heard of the lack of strong, firm leadership needed to drive forward digital transformation. The Expert Panel emphasised that countries and regions which have made major progress in this area generally have dedicated senior leadership, as well as ensuring that training in digital skills is available for staff at all levels.

This requires us to build knowledge and skills within the system to support and deliver key digital transformation capabilities. Embedding such planning for digital, and the changes it will bring, into all workforce planning, professional development/competency frameworks and change programmes will be essential going forward. Similarly, we need to ensure our workforce is fully digitally connected wherever they are, suitably skilled to use the technology and sufficiently flexible to adapt to new ways of working.

'Digital has transformed not only the way staff work and communicate with each other, it has also transformed the data that we collect and report, resulting in a consistent approach across services. Above all it has enhanced patient care.'
– Nicola Henderson, Dietician, NHS Forth Valley

By September 2018, NHS Education for Scotland, the Local Government Digital Office (working with COSLA and Health and Social Care Partnerships ) and the Scottish Social Services Council will have in place a clear approach to developing the modern workforce and the necessary leadership to drive change.

This approach will enable us to:

  • Establish the leadership roles, skills and experience required to drive the agenda for Digital Health and Care in Scotland.
  • Develop frameworks and learning pathways of digital and data skills, capabilities, competencies and career paths across the health and social care workforce.
  • Create a 'standard' that sets a clear direction of the roles and responsibilities for employers and employees in relation to digital skills, enabled by national learning resources and programmes.
  • Partner with the Scottish Government's Digital Skills Academy to improve access to high quality digital skills training.
  • Work with our universities and colleges to ensure that digital skills are an integral part of education and training for our future workforce.
  • Build capacity and capability across specialist digital, IT and data professions.
  • Support a cohort of leaders to participate in the NHS Digital Academy programme, the Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals ( NMAHP) Leadership Programme, the Digital Champions Development Programme [12] , and MSc studentships in Digital Health and Care, as a result continuing to grow a network of digital champions to lead and inform digital developments and practice across health and social care.
  • Promote existing and new solutions that enable more mobile and flexible working.
  • Identify solutions that bring the most modern of technologies to our business and administrative requirements, freeing up staff to focus on frontline services.
  • Provide productivity and collaboration services and tools, such as shared calendars, email, video and instant messaging, to support effective, efficient and secure ways for working across organisational boundaries.
  • Tap into wider knowledge exchange from UK, European and International partnerships and networks.

'We have a long term commitment to developing resources that support social service workers to use and embrace digital technology. The new strategy will make sure that they can make wider use of the opportunities digital provides to improve outcomes and create a better working environment.'
– Lorraine Gray, interim Chief Executive, Scottish Social Services Council


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