A new report published by the NHS AI Lab and Health Education England (HEE) is calling for all health and care staff to receive training in artificial intelligence (AI). 

The Developing healthcare workers’ confidence in AI report also advises that staff working with AI tools in clinical practice should receive additional specialist training.  

AI technology is already being used within the NHS and it is likely that its use will become even more widespread. The report states: “At a strategic level, the report can inform how Health Education England, educational and training providers and educators of healthcare workers plan, resource, develop and deliver educational offerings to equip the workforce with necessary knowledge, skills and capabilities.” 

The report is the second from the NHS AI Lab looking at the topic of AI skills for staff. The first, Understanding healthcare workers’ confidence in AI, recommended that educational pathways and materials should be deployed to support healthcare professionals at all career points to confidently evaluate, adopt and use AI. The most recent report focuses on identifying the key educational requirements to equip the NHS workforce with confidence in AI tech. 

Both reports come in light of the Topol Review which recommended the NHS should focus on building a digital-ready workforce.  

Dr Eric Topol said: “This collaborative research from HEE and the NHS AI Lab represents a significant step forward in developing confidence in AI in the healthcare workforce. It is a model for other countries to adopt as we move forward with implementing AI in medical practice.” 

In the second report training requirements for AI are broken down into five groupings, to recognise the varied roles which are currently undertaken in the NHS. Each grouping, known as an archetype, will have different knowledge and skills requirements. Defining the archetype will help providers tailor their educational offerings to NHS roles.  

Brhmie Balaram, head of AI research and ethics at the NHS AI Lab, said: “For the NHS to wholly embrace new AI technologies so they are adopted equitably across the country it is vital that we ensure all our staff receive appropriate training in AI. 

“This important new research will support those organisations that train our health and care workers to develop their curriculums to ensure staff of the future receive the training in AI they will need.” 

The report is part of the NHS AI Labs’ AI Ethics Initiative. This was introduced to support research and practical interventions that can strengthen the ethical adoption of AI in health and care.