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NHS launches review into ‘digital readiness’ of nurses

NHS launches review into ‘digital readiness’ of nurses

The NHS has launched a review to ensure the nursing and midwifery workforce is equipped to deal with future technological challenges.

Led by Dr Natasha Phillips, chief nursing information officer at NHS England, and international vice-chair Dr Jeanette Ives Erickson, the Phillips Ives Nursing & Midwifery Review will call on evidence from across the nursing and midwifery workforce as well as wider professions within the NHS and from aboard.

The Phillips Ives Review will build on the work of the Topol Review and take around a year to complete.

The review will be conducted by Health Education England as part of its digital readiness education programme in partnership with NHS England.

Health Education England said the review’s findings would inform the NHS’s future digital strategy and ‘ensure that nurses and midwives are provided with the knowledge, skills and education required for safe, effective digitally-enabled practice’.

Dr Phillips said: ‘As the NHS looks to the future and the increasing role played by digital and technology, it is important we ensure our nurses and midwives receive an education that will prepare them for the NHS of tomorrow.’

James McLean, deputy chief nurse of Health Education England, said: ‘As we have already seen with the Topal Review, finding out the digital-readiness of staff working in the NHS is vital to ensure that the healthcare system can continue to implement new and innovative technologies that will improve patient care.

‘This review will offer a tailor-made assessment of the opportunities to improve the digital skills and readiness of the nursing profession to meet these future challenges.’

Dr Erickson, chief nurse emerita at Massachusetts General Hospital, instructor at Harvard Medical School, and fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, added that the review would inform strategy, enhance safety, and embed efficiencies into systems of care delivery. The NHS Long Term Plan (https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/), published in 2019, underlined the importance of technology in the future NHS and committed to increasing the range of digital health tools and services and investing in IT systems and new technology.

The Topol Review, released that same year, outlined recommendations such as genomics, data analytics and AI being prominent in undergraduate curricula for healthcare professionals, as well as ensuring students and staff have an appropriate level of digital literacy.

In the next 20 years, 90% of all jobs in the NHS are expected to require some element of digital skills.