The Digital Readiness Education programme’s vision is to create an uplift of digital skills, knowledge, understanding and awareness across the whole multi-disciplinary health and care workforce to support new ways of working.

We will develop, deliver and maintain – through our NHS Digital Academy service - a range of learning and development products and offerings for both our future/incoming workforce and for our current workforce, including our leaders, our Digital, Data and Technology (DDAT) experts and the wider workforce.


The programme has 4 main objectives:

Objective 1

Through the delivery of digital learning and development offerings, the whole multidisciplinary health and care workforce will be seeing a measured uplift in digital literacy and digital skills, knowledge, and awareness and will enable our people to lead digital change more effectively.

Establishment of the NHS Digital Academy learning and development service including infrastructure elements such as recruitment and content curation, and including learning and development offerings such as the ones below.

Objective 2

Embedding digital skills and awareness across our board level senior leaders, including for Trusts and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs). Some examples ca be seen below.

Objective 3

Through the delivery of learning and development, including into existing academic curricula, we will be supporting the digital readiness of people who are considering, or on the pathway to, a career in the NHS. Some examples can be seen below.

  • Digital into academic (for example, clinical undergraduate) curricula.
  • Digital into existing learning programmes (for example, ‘bolt-on’ sessions for general leadership programmes).
  • University Technical Colleges (UTCs) digital skills support.
  • FastFutures – digital readiness for school and college leavers.
Objective 4

Established the ability to promote, support and utilise digital learning and development offerings by the workforce across all regions. Some examples can be seen below.

Background and policy drivers

The Digital Readiness Education Programme is commissioned by NHS England for delivery by Health Education England (HEE). It builds upon the work started through the Building a Digital Ready Workforce (BDRW) and Digital Readiness programmes, from 2016/17 through to the current day, which was set up to deliver upon ambitions in Personalised Health and Care 2020 and the Five Year Forward View.

The subsequent Wachter Review (2016) led to the establishment of the NHS Digital Academy and the programme aligns with digital workforce requirements including those set out in the Topol Review (2019)the NHS People Plan (2020) and the NHS Long Term Plan.

Other Innovation, Digital and Transformation work at HEE

The Digital Readiness Education Programme is part of the Innovation, Digital and Transformation Directorate which brings together a range of programmes and services to support health and care systems to address their workforce transformation challenges. Our aim is to help the sector attract new talent, upskill the existing workforce, design and develop new roles and new ways of working while developing a more technically enabled, digitally skilled workforce.

The directorate also includes:

  • HEE Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) - using digital technology to make learning easier for those working in the NHS and the wider health and care workforce for the benefit of patients and the public. The team manages three learning platforms – the e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) Hub, the Learning Hub and the Digital Learning Solution. These platforms provide free e-learning programmes to educate and train the health and care workforce.
  • The National NHS Knowledge and Library Services Team - enabling informed decision-making, to improve patient outcomes and deliver efficiencies. They offer evidence searches and summaries, horizon scanning, information skills and health literacy training and facilitate knowledge sharing techniques.
  • The Blended Learning programme - developed to address national shortages in clinical expertise and exploring opportunities to provide predominantly online, remote-access study to those people who may have the aptitude and values to join the medical profession, but are currently unable to learn in traditional ways.
  • Workforce Transformation - the national workforce transformation team supports HEE regional teams and systems directly to identify and prioritise workforce challenges, whether those be rooted in workforce shortages, skills gaps or designing new models of care and determine appropriate solutions.

About Health Education England

Health Education England (HEE) exists for one reason only: to support the delivery of excellent healthcare and health improvement to the patients and public of England by ensuring that the workforce of today and tomorrow has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours, at the right time and in the right place.

Page last reviewed: 4 April 2023
Next review due: 8 April 2024