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NHS Digital extends programme to widen participation in digital health

20 March 2017

NHS Digital extends programme to widen participation in digital health

NHS Digital aims to help thousands of people to improve their digital health skills, with the launch of the next phase of a three-year Widening Digital Participation (WDP) programme.

The project will develop 20 local digital inclusion pathfinder projects across all four NHS regions, over the next three years. The pathfinder projects will be delivered by NHS Digital, in conjunction with the Good Things Foundation.

The first two pathfinder networks are a project with Islington CCG working with young people with mental health problems and learning disabilities and a social prescribing project with Sheffield CCG, supporting older people with one or more long term conditions.

One in 10 people in England lack the confidence and skills to benefit from digital health technologies. The pathfinders will develop models for effective local partnerships to improve digital health skills and access to digital services and information. This will support patients in the move towards a more digitised NHS - particularly the most excluded in society - and gather evidence and lessons that will be shared throughout the NHS to improve future services.

The Widening Digital Participation (WDP) programme will include working with organisations such as Clinical Commissioning Groups, Local Authorities and community groups in areas of high need.

WDP Programme Director at NHS Digital, Amanda Neylon, said: "We know that there is a strong correlation between digital exclusion and health inequalities. Through this project we hope to enable and support vulnerable people to take control of their own health care by providing them with the skills and confidence to go online and access digital health information and services. Good Things Foundation will bring a wealth of experience of reaching digitally and socially excluded groups and we are looking forward to working with them over the next three years".

Helen Milner, chief executive officer of the Good Things Foundation, said: "We are delighted to be working again on NHS Digital's Widening Digital Participation programme. We're passionate about creating a digitally confident population and through our 3,000 community hubs we know Good things Foundation can play a crucial role in scaling digital health inclusion interventions and forming an important backbone for people-powered health". 

"Digital healthcare is an area where the 'furthest first' are set to gain the most. By pursuing this project we can relieve pressure on NHS services, reduce costs, and contribute towards health as a social movement, putting people in control of their healthcare and improving their well-being."


Notes to editors

  1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology provider for the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better. NHS Digital is the new trading name for the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). We provide 'Information and Technology for better health and care'. Find out more about our role and remit at
  2. Good Things Foundation is a digital and social inclusion charity with the aim of a world where everyone can benefit from digital.The organisation help people to overcome social challenges, building a digitally included society and supporting people to grow their essential skills. Good Things Foundation supports the 5,000 strong Online Centres Network - a network of community organisations that help people to improve their digital skills, and to overcome other barriers to inclusion. 
  1. For media enquires please contact or telephone 0300 30 33 888.

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Last edited: 9 October 2018 7:28 am