How the Digital Health Leadership Programme helped to develop me as a leader

Published on 14 March 2022, by See Mun Wong

Pharmacy, Learning and development, NHS Digital Academy, Digital health leadership

As the Chair of the Digital Subgroup for the National Homecare Medicines Committee, I was particularly excited to learn about the Digital Health Leadership Programme opportunity offered by Health Education England (HEE).

I knew that this programme would have the potential to develop me as a leader in the digital space and to bring transformation in homecare medicine services. The core modules in the programme looked relevant and applicable to bridge my knowledge gap even though I didn’t have any direct advanced digital experience.

My first application for Cohort 3 was unsuccessful. Learning from HEE’s feedback on weaknesses in that application, I persevered and re-applied for Cohort 4, and gladly I was accepted this time!

If I could offer advice to anyone thinking of applying, it is to attend an application webinar and read through the application guidance carefully. Another handy tip is to identify a specific project that you can apply learnings from the programme to effectively.

Finding an Executive Sponsor was not a problem for me as the Head of Specialist Pharmacy Service (SPS) who oversees our operational functions agreed to support me. It was very important that we achieved mutual understanding of the time requirements needed for me to complete the programme and her full support helps to ensure that I gain as much as possible.

I am nearly halfway through the course and am amazed by how much I have learnt already. The course has delivered its learning objectives in many different ways, such as through core reading, interactive webinar sessions, recorded presentations, forum discussions and residentials (virtual and in-person). I am so pleased that I have managed to apply some of the tools and frameworks effectively at work during this time. Some of the assessments that I have submitted are also useful to be adapted and further developed into an actual digital strategy for homecare medicines. In other words, I can kill two birds with one stone!

Having a lovely bunch of people in my peer support group motivating each other has been a highlight for me. Self-directed learning on my own might otherwise have been a bit dispiriting at times, particularly when having to manage conflicting pressures of work and study. I am lucky to get additional support from a mentor, who can give me advice and feedback along the journey. She has also managed to place me strategically to work more closely with NHS Digital to accelerate the progress of my digital project.

This programme is certainly not for the faint-hearted however, it requires full commitment from the individual to get the most from the programme. I ensured I had the full support of my husband before I applied, to make sure that I could balance work/study and family life. It has not been an easy journey so far, but I am exhilarated by the amount of personal learning (some of which I have been able to apply at work). I even feel some changes in me as a person, in my thought processes as well as my management approach. I am curious to know what I can achieve towards the end of the programme. If you have failed in your previous application, I would strongly encourage you to go for it a second time. As long as you are up for a pretty intense study experience, you will not regret it once you are on the course.

SW See Mun Wong

See Mun Wong

Interim Pharmacy Procurement Specialist – North West England

Specialist Pharmacy Service (SPS)

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


See Mun Wong is a pharmacist with many years of experience working in the hospital sector. The Specialist Pharmacy Service has recently seconded her as the Regional Pharmacy Procurement Specialist, supporting medicines procurement in secondary care in the North West. Her background is in homecare medicines and she chairs the digital subgroup of the National Homecare Medicines Committee, working with colleagues from NHS Trusts, NHS Digital and the homecare industry to shape digital transformation in the homecare space.