Editor's Comment

13.09.16

Time to show your support

Source: NHE Sep/Oct 16

As this edition of NHE went to press, we were all digesting the news and developments that came out of this year’s Health and Care Innovation Expo. Two very interesting announcements involved the realignment of the hospital digitisation programme and the development of an NHS Digital Academy. 

Both stemming from Dr Robert Wachter’s independent report ‘Making IT Work’, they represent a possible step change in how the NHS plans to implement technological change. 

Dr Wachter’s report was very honest in its overview, highlighting the significant variance in digital maturity across secondary care, and that the delivery of a paperless NHS by 2020 was “aspirational” but also “unrealistic” with the capital and timeframe available. 

As well as focusing on changing the implementation of NHS digitisation, the ‘digital doctor’ also called for a change in how we develop the clinician/informatician workforce pipeline. The result of this was the announcement of an NHS Digital Academy, although the details on this remain thin. 

What is good to see, though, is that there looks to be some investment in the people to ensure that this project is deliverable by 2023, especially if funding is reliant on trusts having to show they have staff development plans in place. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the developments in this area. 

Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of talk about sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) at Expo, with Simon Stevens calling for critics to get behind the developments. In this particular edition, NHS Improvement’s Jeremy Marlow explains how the regulator is trying to support trusts with their business plans and moves to consolidate back-office and pathology services. 

Rather than focusing on the doom and gloom surrounding deficits, missed targets and the ever-increasing demand on NHS services, I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask NHE readers to consider doing something to highlight the achievements of their support staff. 

This year, the inaugural Our Health Heroes Awards have been developed by Skills for Health, the National Skills Academy for Health and Unison to recognise and promote the significant contribution the support workforce makes to the health sector. 

As NHE is the official media partner, and I am one of the judges, I’ll admit I have a vested interest in making my plea. However, when you consider the valuable work done by support staff, from healthcare assistants through to porters, I’m sure you know someone who deserves to be celebrated.

The closing date for entries is 23 September and more information can be found on page 26. Please take a look and nominate someone.

David Stevenson

Editor

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