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Recognising the digital profession:The Year of the Digital Profession & the digital and data awards

Sonia Patel, System CIO & Director of Levelling-Up, Head of Digital Profession

In her latest blog post, Sonia Patel, System CIO and Head of Digital Profession, describes how the Digital and Data awards will help lay the foundation for The Year of the Digital Profession in health and care and explains how you can nominate a member of your team.

In collaboration with partners, we are establishing 2022 as the ‘Year of the Digital Profession’, to shine a spotlight on the profession, develop a vibrant professional community and plan for the workforce needs of the future.

Over the last two years, the profession has risen to challenges of the pandemic and supporting leaders, staff and citizens through the use of digital, data and technology from enabling virtual environments all the way to supporting the national covid vaccination effort.

We are committed to developing the beneficial changes to deliver a ‘digitally-enabled’ future as a part of the NHS Long Term Plan. This includes providing digital access to NHS services for citizens and ensuring clinicians have digital access to patient records and care plans.

The foundation to becoming ‘digitally enabled’ will be to develop a sustainable, skilled and supported digital, data, technology and informatics workforce in order to help the wider workforce with the appropriate skills and tools. This is integral to good digital practice that we set out in our What Good Looks Like guidance and essential if we are to meet the demands and ambitions of the sector.

Our pledge is to work with stakeholders and informatics professionals across the system in the Year of the Digital Profession to:

  • Launch a 5-year strategy and roadmap for a sustainable digital and data workforce and developing the profession the workforce deserves.

  • Create a career framework setting out core competencies to inform professional development and critical for both the recruitment and retention of those within the health and care sector.

  • As well as the delivery of targeted campaigns to attract apprentices, graduates and specialist skills in short supply, into the sector.

We will commence, in association with the Federation of Informatics Professionals (FedIP), the ‘Year of the Digital Professional’ by recognising the invaluable contribution to health and care delivery made by those already working in digital and data with the launch of the Digital and Data Awards.

The awards are open to clinicians and professionals, from apprentices through to senior managers, working in digital, data, technology or informatics roles in the NHS and social care. The awards are across six categories:

● Spirit, recognising leadership or contribution to advancing a team during the fight against COVID and during the recovery phase

● Impact, recognising significant and tangible impacts achieved during the last 2 years, specifically for patient or staff outcomes and experiences

● Leadership, recognising where someone has led a team, department or organisation through digital transformation

● Champion, recognising individuals who have gone above and beyond in their role

● Dedication to profession, recognising an individual's commitment and contribution to building the digital profession

● Aspiring talent, recognising those at the start of their digital and data careers

Applications are now open, and award winners will be announced in June 2022. The deadline for nominations is 30 April.

I strongly encourage you to take a few moments out of your day to nominate a member of your team to be considered for recognition for the invaluable work they have delivered over the past couple of years.

We estimate the form should take you about 30 mins to complete. We cannot accept self-nominations.


System CIO/Director of Levelling-up, NHSE/I

Sonia’s key priorities are to provide a clear vision for 'What Good digital transformation Looks Like’ for the nation; support in the best way possible the levelling-up of digital foundations for front-line organisations; supporting local board's ownership of digital transformation; building a digitally confident workforce to provide new and meaningful ways to empower citizens health and well-being through the use of technology and data. She brings 20 years of healthcare sector experience, her breadth and wealth of knowledge makes her an authentic leader that has proven to deliver digital innovation even in the most challenging of circumstances. She’s passionate about diversity, equality and inclusion and a big supporter of the shuri network and stemettes and also actively mentors up and coming talent.



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