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HiNZ speaker to detail Scotland’s approach to digital health

HiNZ speaker to detail Scotland’s approach to digital health and care

Date: 13 August 2018

Scotland plans to spend more of its health IT funding centrally as part of the implementation of its new Digital Health and Care Strategy, a HiNZ 2018 speaker says.

Dr Lesley Holdsworth is a clinical lead for digital health and care at the Scottish Government and will be speaking at the HiNZ Conference in Wellington this November on the Scottish approach to digital health and care. She will also be giving a presentation at eAlliedHealth in Wellington this November called Digital health and care in Scotland: The allied health contribution.

Although referred to collectively as the NHS, responsibility for the determining and delivery of health and care in the UK is actually devolved to each of the four member countries.

The Scottish Government published a new Digital Health and Care Strategy in April, which Holdsworth says builds on the momentum generated by the previous one refreshed in 2014.

The strategy focuses on six domains: national direction and leadership; information governance, assurance and cybersecurity; service transformation; workforce capability; national digital platform and transition process.

While some of the domains are already well underway, others are more challenging, “but we have the hearts and minds of the key individuals in Scotland to make this work,” Holdsworth tells

The new strategy is accompanied by some new funding, but also involves using the existing budget more creatively and in line with the strategy’s aims, she explains.

The Scottish Government provides a substantial ring-fenced budget for the digital health and care agenda which historically has been devolved to the country’s 14 territorial boards to allow them to develop the solutions they need for local delivery.

However, the new strategy signals a move away from that approach, with more money being spent centrally.

“We want to ensure that we are creating options, solutions and brands that are once for Scotland, rather than 14 iterations of the same thing,” Holdsworth explains.

“Devolving decision making to local communities is very important; however, it does also have a flip side in that you tend to get very many different versions of the same thing, and we felt that some solutions and functions we should be doing once for Scotland and having a much bigger central pot will enable us to do that,” she says.

“We are seeing some very different levels of maturity in terms of the digital landscape across the country with some areas forging ahead much quicker than others. We want to be much more efficient and cost effective and provide access to both healthcare practitioners and our citizens to these digital solutions that they want.”

Holdsworth says the final touches are now being put on the implementation roadmap to support the new strategy.

“The approach we used to develop the strategy was slightly different from the past and was very much based on the experience within the rest of the UK and particularly within the English system which also published a new strategy last year,” she says.

“We both decided to use an international expert panel to be a touchpoint for our thinking, and interestingly and very reassuringly the strategy from England chimes very well with our own thinking.”

Holdsworth is one of four clinical leads based at the Scottish Government in Edinburgh.

She says she “acts as a conduit between policy and the clinical workforce to ensure that the clinician’s voice is very much up the middle of what policy is trying to achieve”.

The HiNZ Conference 2018 is being held on 21–23 November at Wellington’s TSB Arena.

To read more about the HiNZ Conference 2018 click here >>

eAlliedHealth 2018 is being held on 21 November at Wellington’s TSB Arena.

To read more about eAlliedHealth 2018 click here >>



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