HomeLearning & DevelopmentUnique contract to help upskill the NHS workforce and tackle the digitisation challenge, goes live

Unique contract to help upskill the NHS workforce and tackle the digitisation challenge, goes live

  • 3 Min Read

The NHS will require an additional 32,000 people with digital, data and technology skills by 2030

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Leading corporate services provider, NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), has launched a unique Digital Health Advisory Services framework agreement, the only one of its kind in the UK, designed to help the NHS augment the digital, data and technology (DDaT) skills and capabilities of its workforce.

The NHS is seeing significant technological adoptions. From algorithm-assisted diagnosis to electronic patient records, digital transformation is commonplace.,

However, the requisite skills and expertise are not always in place in-house to support the implementation and operation of these digital transformation projects and initiatives. This can compromise patient safety and care.

NHS SBS’s procurement solution provides health and care organisations with a simple and cost-effective means to address their immediate and short term DDaT expertise needs at pace, compliantly and cost-effectively.

An additional 32,000 full-time equivalent in DDaT roles needed

To put this into perspective, Health Education England’s Digital Readiness programme commissioned a report to identify the capacity and capability challenges facing the NHS digital workforce.

It finds that in the lead up to 2030, and in line with projected demand, an additional 32,000 full-time equivalent in DDaT roles – from front line help desk, data analysts through to software developers and cybersecurity engineers – will be needed to reach a forecasted required size of 78,000.

However, recruiting and retaining these is a long term goal. The NHS also needs short term solutions, and investments in the NHS digital workforce will need to be made if the NHS is to realise its ambitions around digital transformation.

Interim solution to support a long term goal

Developed in collaboration with NHS England’s (NHSE) Transformation Directorate, NHS SBS’s Digital Health Advisory Services framework agreement comprises 40 carefully vetted providers of consultancy services that can support with the delivery of IT projects, clinical informatics advisory, digital training and provision of temporary staff with DDaT skills.

Half of the providers are small to medium enterprises; all specialise in digital healthcare.

Free to access, it can be used by GP practices, hospitals, health centres, emergency services through to Integrated Care Systems, to procure support to complete digital projects in flight, or accelerate the rate of digital and technological advancement within a trust.

“The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan states that harnessing the opportunities presented by digital and technological innovations requires NHS staff to continue to build digital skills and capabilities,” says David Holbrook, Senior Category Manager – Digital Workforce & IT Transformation at NHS SBS.

“Workforce is one of the most cited challenges facing the NHS and the purpose of our framework agreement is to help accelerate successful digital adoption by providing immediate access to the tools, expertise and digital skills the NHS needs and to support it bridge the gap along its journey to transformation.”

NHS SBS’s unveiling of its latest procurement framework comes hot on the heels of the launch of four Combined Framework Agreement Solutions. Each solution comprises a combination of the organisation’s framework agreements offer spanning IT & Digital, Health, Construction & Estates and Business Service.

Together, they are designed to support the NHS to deliver whole priorities to achieve key targets and objectives.

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