A core aspect of the NHS Long Term Plan is digital technology and the impact this will have on the NHS in the future. The ambition is towards a digital first model for most, particularly in primary care. The health and social care system is currently under pressure, with changing patient demographics, and increasing costs in investigation and treatment.

The workforce is also changing, with career expectations around work/life balance and flexible portfolio careers. The role of healthcare technologies, from genomics to artificial intelligence and robotics, can be a means for addressing the big healthcare challenges of the 21st century.

The NHS needs to address the workforce challenge, highlighted in the recent Topol Review, on ‘Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future’. It is envisaged that in 20 years, 90% of all jobs in the NHS will require some element of digital skills. By 2021/2022, every local NHS board will have a Chief Clinical Information Officer. The Topol Programme for Digital Health Fellowships is a unique opportunity for protected time set outside of clinical commitments to develop skills in digital transformation to be a change agent at local level.

These fellowships allow clinicians to combine their clinical training or current job with digital transformation work in their local host institutions. Applicants are encouraged to identify projects and supervisors at local employers or academic institutions. The academic content of the programme will offer learning in digital health, and an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are aspiring to be digital leaders.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: ‘Getting the right leadership, people who understand tech, who have tech skills themselves, involved in management decisions is vital to getting the right mindset in place…this programme will give clinicians the skills to make a practical difference to their local NHS organisations and start them on a path to become CCIOs and CIOs.’

We are looking for clinicians of all backgrounds who are ready to learn and develop knowledge and capabilities, and harness their skills into organisational development, which can have positive impact on patient care

Applications are open from Monday 18th February until (and including) 18th March. Get applying here and don’t miss out on a life-changing experience. If you have any further questions, I’m hosting a live Twitter chat with my handle @Dr_Hatz on Thursday 28st February between 17.00 and 19.00, and will be delighted to help.

By Dr. Hatim Abdulhussein, National Medical Directors Clinical Fellow, Health Education England