Two universities across the UK have been selected to lead the NHS Digital Academy, set up to provide specialist IT training to 300 senior clinicians and health managers.
A £4million contract was awarded to Imperial College, Edinburgh University, in partnership with the Harvard Medical School to help introduce the NHS Digital Academy.
The institutions will help provide a range of training programmes to NHS staff in relation to IT and digital skills. This will include online and institutional training for NHS CCIOs, CIOs and other similar roles. Digital leaders from the UK’s 16 global digital exemplars (GDEs) and seven mental health GDEs will be prioritised initially.
The courses will be provided over 12-months covering issues such as leadership and transformational change, the use of data sharing, interoperability and artificial intelligence.
About the announcement, health secretary, Jeremy Hunt said: “If the NHS is going to have world-class IT systems we need a major programme to spread global best practice – and this links three of the best universities in the world to do just that. The academy will ensure the next generation of NHS leaders is well equipped with the most exciting innovations that deliver the best care available to patients everywhere.”
The creation of the Academy comes from recommendations set out in Robert Watcher’s review of IT in the NHS, released last year.
The report stated that in order for the NHS to have a successful digital strategy, ‘support for leadership and informatics training, as well as support for education of leaders, front-line providers, trainees and clinician- and non-clinician informaticians’ must be provided.
Professor Ara Darzi, director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College, said: “The NHS has an unhappy record on digitisation but we believe it is now ready to embrace the technological changes that are urgently required. We want to build a vibrant, self-sustaining community of inspired leaders who will drive NHS digital transformation. We have an unrivalled record of using academic rigour to translate ground-breaking research into digital health solutions and we have assembled a world-class team to develop the NHS Digital Academy. Our operational team and faculty are already in place and we have a clear plan to launch in Autumn. We will ensure participants graduate with an international outlook and network.”
The academy will open for applications in September.