The Great Workforce Challenge: Recruitment, Training and Retention to Drive Forward Digital Transformation’ was another popular session at this year’s HETT North event and explored the current issues facing the digital health workforce and key steps that could be taken to improve the current landscape. The panel was joined by: 

  • Adam Thilthorpe, Director of External Affairs, BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT 
  • Mark Hutchinson, Chief Digital and Information Officer, Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Martyn Perry, Associate Director of Digital Transformation, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Yinka Makinde, Director of Digital Workforce Strategy, NHS England 

Key Takeaways from the session 

Why is there difficulty when attracting the right digital talent to the NHS? 

The panel discussed how it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract the right talent to digital roles within the NHS.  

“52% of respondents said that they have difficulty attracting and recruiting digital tech staff” - Yinka Makinde, Director of Digital Workforce Strategy, NHS England 

This is due to a series of issues, with the key issues being: 

  • Not great at articulating what the digital teams are here to do - According to the panel, the NHS needs to improve in articulating the purpose of digital teams and their significant role in enhancing patient safety and care through digital solutions. It's crucial to communicate this message effectively to attract IT professionals seeking value-driven opportunities, as the current lack of understanding may deter them from applying to work within the NHS.
  • Overwhelming job descriptions & application process - During the session, the panel acknowledged that the job descriptions for digital roles in the NHS can be daunting for IT professionals who lack a background in healthcare. They noted that descriptions can run up to five pages and often suggest that candidates require extensive knowledge about all clinical systems and terminology. It was highlighted that the NHS needs to make the positions look appealing and achievable, and that they offer flexible work and upskilling.

"We are very good at listing what we need people to do, we aren't particularly good at listing how we can help people to do it." - Martyn Perry, Associate Director of Digital Transformation, Midlands Partnership NHS 

DPP-HETT_North_23-290-smallHow can we grow and attract digital talent within the NHS? 

The panel then went on to discuss some of the options the NHS has to try and grow the pool of digital talent within the NHS:  

  • Build a network with local universities and colleges to demonstrate what a career in digital health could look like and talk to people on a more personal level. 
  • Look at reskilling current NHS employees whose current job roles may become obsolete. 
  • Utilise apprenticeships and graduate schemes at a larger scale. 
  • Have a wider focus – look at the competencies needed for a job, such as the right values, understanding of patient flows, and desire to improve patient experience rather than focusing only on those with computer science degrees. 

Join the conversation, Register for HETT North 2024

Be part of the next discussion around workforce and digital productivity and register for HETT North 2024 taking place at Manchester Central Convention Complex, 28th February 2024. Key highlights include: 

  • 40+ hours of CPD-certified content across 5 streams
  • 1-2-1 meeting opportunities with over 1,400 digital health professionals
  • 100+ expert speakers
  • 100+ innovative suppliers

Register for HETT North

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