The Digital Health Networks CNIO Advisory Panel chair, Sarah Hanbridge, has looked back on winning the Outstanding Contribution to Digital Health Networks award and her experience of Summer Schools 2022.

Hanbridge, the departing CCIO Nursing and AHP at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust who will soon move to Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, spoke exclusively to Digital Health News about her triumph, Summer Schools, future goals for the Networks Advisory Panels and her new role.

A proud moment

The CNIO Advisory Panel chair became the inaugural winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Digital Health Networks award during a gala dinner and awards ceremony on the middle night of Summer Schools in York last month. Hanbridge was one of seven award winners on the night.

Speaking about how it felt when she won the award, Hanbridge said: “It was lovely actually, it was a really nice surprise and obviously it’s the first year of being an elected panel for CNIO for nursing, which was fantastic.

“I’ve been really lucky to be fair because I’ve got a really fantastic advisory panel that has made the job of the chair quite easy, so in that respect it’s been great because without them, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we’ve achieved over the last 12 months.

“We’ve done some phenomenal work and we’ve done quite a lot, so it was nice to be recognised for the work that’s been achieved.”

A successful Summer Schools

The ninth edition of Digital Health Summer Schools took place in York last month, returning to an in-person event for the first time since 2019. The two-day residential event was dedicated to local NHS IT leaders, focussed on CCIOs, CIOs and CNIOs, plus future digital leaders.

The face-to-face event was a new experience for Hanbridge and her reflections on the two days are nothing but positive.

She said: “This was my very first face-to-face Summer Schools. I did the virtual one last year which was fantastic but obviously being face-to-face and in person this year was just amazing.

“The atmosphere was fantastic. We had a lot of new fresh faces which was energising because that was one of my ambitions as the chair, to bring new people into the network.

“This year it just had a very different feel to it and the actual content of Summer Schools was great. People learnt lots, the networking and keynote speakers were fantastic. There isn’t anything I didn’t like about Summer Schools this year, it was just packed and it was energised.”

Digital Health Summer Schools will return in 2023, this time taking place in Birmingham.

A target for the Networks

The Digital Health Networks have achieved a lot in the past few years, particularly since Hanbridge became chair of the CNIO Advisory Panel in 2021, however she still wants all three networks to do more.

“Because I’m always overambitious I always aim for higher. We saw some of this at Summer Schools, the collaboration with the three networks and I’d like to see more collaboration work in the next 12 months,” Hanbridge claimed.

“I think that one of my ambitions is to see what we can do collectively in a work stream. We’ve done a lot around the CNIO work, but I’d like to do more around that collaboration.

“I’m not sure what that looks like, but I’d be keen to have a discussion on what we could do as the three panels together, that would be really good and exciting.”

A new beginning

Since 2019, Hanbridge has been CCIO Nursing and AHP at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, but this role has officially come to an end after she enjoyed her last day on 3 August.

Hanbridge will soon join Leeds Teaching Hospitals as their CCIO, working alongside the CDIO Paul Jones and the rest of the Digital Leeds team. She spoke about her new opportunity to Digital Health News.

“Before I went to The Christie I predominantly worked in acute medicine so I suppose I’m going back to my roots of a big teaching acute hospital. I’m a registered nurse but I’m also a registered educator as well, so I’m really passionate about teaching, education and professional development,” she said.

“Leeds have an outstanding reputation around digital and have a really strong CDIO in Paul Jones as well as a really good nursing and AHP infrastructure, so that was another thing that enticed me to go there.

“It’s well established and it’s completely out of my comfort zone. It’s a different region because predominantly my nursing career has been in the northwest and I’m transitioning to the northeast,” she added.

“It’s going to be a massive challenge, but a challenge I’m absolutely ready for.”