Alternative Opportunities

Alternative Opportunities

Welcome! If your application for Cohort 4 of the Digital Health Leadership programme was unsuccessful, we are keen to provide some practical ideas and suggest alternative opportunities for how to continue your professional development journeys. This is alongside the detailed feedback all applicants to Cohort 4 will receive later on in the Summer (we wanted to prioritise outcomes in the first instance). We know this can be a disappointing time but unfortunately, this is the reality of an over-subscribed programme.

You may also be here because you feel that the Digital Health Leadership Programme is not quite the right choice for you at the moment, which is absolutely fine.

As outlined in our Future Vision, we have a range of broader offerings in the making. We are exploring different delivery models including regional delivery and online delivery which over time we hope will improve access to learning opportunities.

We also continue to work closely with The Federation for Informatics Professionals (FEDIP) and various Heads of Profession so that over time we can collaboratively signpost to opportunities based on individuals career pathways and personal needs. This will provide you, over time, with a range of accredited opportunities to help demonstrate your competency against defined common standards.

We hope however in the meantime, this will help some of you who may not be aware of opportunities already available to you. If you would like to add anything to this list, please contact us at We would like to also thank Dr Gurkaran Singh Samra (North West SAS Specialty lead for Clinical Informatics) and his ‘My Digital Unacademy’ blog which highlights lots of the great opportunities in this space.

NHS Digital Academy Digital Health Leadership Further Reading

The module leads at Imperial College London (who deliver the Digital Health Leadership programme alongside partners HDRUK and the University of Edinburgh) have curated some further reading materials which you may find of interest.

Join a Professional Body

There are many professional bodies in this space including the six which sit under the FEDIP umbrella. These are:

Professional body membership includes access to learning and development, networking, events, webinars and professional support. They can also provide competency frameworks to help identify your personal development gaps and requirements for further learning and development.  

National Informatics Skills Development Network (ISDN) rollout

Have you heard of the ISDNs? The North West ISDN is well established and there are newer ISDNs in Yorkshire & Humber, London and Midlands regions. The Digital Readiness programme is supporting national rollout, aiming to establish ISDNs across all 7 NHSE/I regions. Connecting with your local ISDN could provide you with some much-needed local peer support as well as access to skills development training.

Interacting via other communities, networks and social media

The Digital Readiness programme has work underway to help individuals locate or start a digital network. While this work is underway, we would like to suggest a few things you can get involved in straightaway in addition to the Professional Body and Skills Development Networks outlined above.

There is a vibrant community both on Twitter and the Digital Health networks and an opportunity to share ideas and ask questions with your peers. You’re not alone in this space and joining a network or community can be a great way to connect with people, share best practice, and ask questions!

In particular we would like to signpost to the Shuri Network and OneHealthTech. The Shuri Network currently has a brilliant shadowing scheme underway in conjunction with the Hexitime Healthcare Skill Exchange and Timebank . We would recommend involvement in this, either as someone eligible to undertake shadowing but also it can be very rewarding learning experience to offer your time for someone to shadow you.

Leadership Skills

The NHS Leadership Academy has been well established for over ten years now and they provide a wide range of general leadership learning opportunities. We are actively working with them to develop joint resources but for now there is still a great range of leadership opportunities available to you.  

Alternative schemes to Digital Academy

Here are a range of fellowships and other programmes (listed alphabetically) that can support career development in digital ranging from leadership and workforce development programmes to scholarships and other schemes aimed at specific professions such as information analysts or scientists across the NHS.  You will need to visit the respective website to confirm any associated costs.

Please note unless specified, these are not centrally funded by the Digital Readiness programme. Over time (led by FEDIP) we will start to signpost to accredited material to help you with your personal development journey.

We will continue to add to this, if you think there is something missing that we could include or you notice any broken links or incorrect information, please contact: – many thanks!

Other Programmes

Name of Scheme: Certified Healthcare CIO (CHCIO) certification
Who is it for?: CIOs
Duration: CHCIO exam can be taken within 1 year from application date
Time commitments: Will differ depending on prior knowledge and time required to study for examination
Learning Methods: Study materials and examinations, CIO boot camps
Link/Application details: International Certified Healthcare CIO (CHCIO) certification – Register your interest

Name of Scheme: Digital Health MSc, University of Central Lancashire
Who is it for?: Health and care professionals including NHS and local authorities in the UK, alongside international students
Duration: 15 weeks per 20 credit module
Time commitments: 13 hours per week (average) per 20 credit module
Learning Methods: Online delivery, combining asynchronous content (pre-recorded lectures and reading) and synchronous material (face to face tutorials, webinars, and peer supported one to one learning where required)
Link/Application details: Digital Health MSc

Name of Scheme: Digital Pioneer Fellowship
Who is it for?: NHS healthcare professionals (only in London and South East England)
Duration: 12 months
Time commitments: Fellows are expected to attend 6 study days over the period of 12 months
Learning Methods: Action focused learning including workshops, resources and events throughout the year. Quarterly 1:1 mentorship with an expert.
Link/Application details: Digital Pioneer Fellowship – DigitalHealth.London – Register your interest

Name of Scheme: Florence Nightingale Digital Scholars (HEE commissioned)
Who is it for?: Nurses and midwives registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Duration: 12 months
Time commitments: TBC
Learning Methods: An in-depth personal development plan (experiential learning and individual assessments throughout). Mentorship offered
Link/Application details: Scholarships – Florence Nightingale Foundation

Name of Scheme: Government Digital Services Academy
Who is it for?: Public sector workers interested in designing digital services
Duration: various
Time commitments: various
Learning Methods: various
Link/Application details: GDS Academy courses – GOV.UK

Name of Scheme: Information Analyst Development Programme
Who is it for?: Analysts working in health and care in the East or West Midlands
Duration: 20 weeks
Time commitments: 11-day programme with additional optional activities
Learning Methods: Online teaching, work based project/analysis, presentations (final day)
Link/Application details: Places available for Information Analysts’ Development Programme – Applications for current cohorts (1-4) closed 31st March 2021

Name of Scheme: Minerva Now Leadership programme
Who is it for?: Women in digital healthcare
Duration: Flexible
Time commitments: ?
Learning Methods: 8 modules delivered online using a variety of learning experiences, coaching, action Learning Sets
Link/Application details: Minerva Now – Request prospectus and register interest

Name of Scheme: NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme
Who is it for?: NHS staff with an interest in entrepreneurship and innovation
Duration: 12 months
Time commitments: ?
Learning Methods: Various including  mentoring, networking, webinars and educational ‘pit stops’
Link/Application details: NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative » Clinical Entrepreneur training programme

Name of Scheme: The Shuri Fellowship
Who is it for?: Women of colour in digital
Duration: 12 months
Time commitments: ?
Learning Methods: Shadowing opportunities
Link/Application details: The Shuri Fellowship – Shuri Network

Name of Scheme: Topol Digital Fellowship (HEE commissioned)
Who is it for?: NHS clinical staff
Duration: 12 months
Time commitments: 0.4WTE protected time (funded backfill)
Learning Methods: Personal digital project, lunch and learns, masterclasses, online community
Link/Application details: Topol Digital Fellowships

Name of Scheme: Yale & HEE Digital Futures Programme (HEE Commissioned)
Who is it for?: Senior teams across the system from ICS/STP footprints to work together
Duration: 12 months
Time commitments: Includes 2 x week long residentials
Learning Methods: Residential, field / project work, coaching, group work
Link/Application details: Yale and HEE Digital Futures Programme

There are also a number of universities providing formal learning opportunities in this space. There are also courses available on FutureLearn, Coursera, edX and others.