A strengthened workforce is crucial to the development of the healthcare sector, especially in this digital era.
We caught up with the Head of Healthcare at BCS, The Chartered Institute of IT, Julie Bailey for an exclusive interview to discuss the improvement of the digital health workforce and careers.
Julie Bailey: BCS is the professional body for those with data, digital, technology, and information roles. We have a Royal Charter to ‘make IT good for society’ which ultimately means promoting and advancing the education and practice of computing for the benefit of the public.
I’ve been working with BCS for over 6 years and in that time always in health and care, which I feel very grateful to be part of. I lead on delivering a strategy to support the professional recognition and self-development of skills for our members in health and care. The Federation of Informatics Professionals (FEDIP) forms an important part of this work, providing the registration we deliver. Health and care I believe will achieve a recognised profession before any other sector, and with the registration from FEDIP, we are that much closer.
HETT: Professionalisation is emerging as a step change in digital health, being the year of the digital profession, how can we ensure a future of skilled digital health workforce?
Julie Bailey: It’s wonderful to see people and organisations thinking about what professionalism means and taking steps to develop their workforce. The year of the digital profession has highlighted just how important recognised and validated skills are. It’s shifted the dial on the value of skill, and the CPD to support it. To ensure a future of skilled digital health workforce needs an expectation of CPD at all levels, this is where organisations need to provide support for staff to achieve it too, by protecting development time and opportunities to support career progression
HETT: What is your best advice for those looking to build their digital health careers and develop new expertise?
Julie Bailey: Be recognised for the skills you bring to your role. Consider the skills you have as your currency and maintain them. Build in CPD as part of your working week stretch your goals to include skills outside your comfort zone! Look for coaching or mentoring to support you, and managers - start linking CPD to appraisals!
HETT: What is your perspective on how we can tackle some of the most pressing challenges in healthcare at the moment?
Julie Bailey: There are a lot of answers to this, but as BCS is all about the recognition and registration of skill, for me the challenges that persist are around growing skilled talent needed to meet the digital requirements!
There needs to be a cohesive approach to creating ways to upskill, reskill and continually develop people. Responsibility for this needs to be shared and competent skills need to represent value to people. How can you ask people to continually improve if you don’t recognise their efforts? And yes - the right pay matters! AfC doesn’t help this process and the NHS needs to recognise this and quickly!
There is already a lot of work underway which is encouraging but the culture around CPD and self-development needs to change to advance digital. FEDIP can be a catalyst to this, but NHS senior leaders need to be the main driving force to shift the appetite to develop within their organisations.
I’d also like to see an expectation for those organisations contracting and working with the NHS to demonstrate the same level of recognised competency in the staff they employ!
HETT: What are you most looking forward to at HETT 2022?
Julie Bailey: Meeting up with people face to face and getting inspired by all the wonderful conversations that drive us on. There are some great topics for discussion so looking forward to hearing them.
HETT: Thank you for your time today, Julie. It’s been a pleasure catching up with you and learning more about your perspective on the workforce in digital health. We look forward to seeing you at HETT Show (27th 28th September, ExCeL London)!
Join Julie Bailey at the HETT Show on 27-28 September.