Digital Health Networks has launched The Birmingham Declaration; a statement of intent, providing a focus and a framework of priorities for the Networks for the next five years. 

The declaration was collectively developed by members of the Digital Health Networks during Summer Schools 2023 at the University Birmingham. It states that the Networks believe that improved use of digital and data is vital to the future success of the NHS and can only be achieved through: 

  • Improved and increased digital leadership across the whole NHS. 
  • National digital policy driven from and informed by the needs and challenges of the front line. 
  • A digitally mature and skilled NHS workforce able to exploit, discover and embrace new services underpinned by digital and data creatively and collaboratively. 

The declaration goes on to say that Networks have the potential to “play a vital role in supporting the achievement of the digital ambitions of the NHS, by working with national bodies and supporting best practice locally.” 

The document commits the Networks and their elected representatives to drive change and improvement in three core areas: Digital Leadership; National Engagement; and Innovation and Research. 

We are delighted to be launching the Birmingham Declaration and thank all Network members who provided their insight and feedback as this was key in forming the declaration,” said Lauren Hoodless, head of networks at Digital Health.

“We believe that providing direction and focus for the Digital Health Networks will help to drive positive change and support the achievement of the digital ambitions of the NHS. We are excited for the initiatives and milestones to come and encourage members of the Networks to support and engage in these activities.

Providing a focus for work of Advisory Panels

Over the next two years, these priorities are designed to provide a focus for each of the Digital Health Advisory Panels and shape activity carried out in support of achieving this. 

The Birmingham Declaration was formed using feedback from Networks members at Summer Schools 2023 across 12 separate themes. Chairs from 2023-2025 and 2021-2023 then used this feedback to create a framework of priorities that the Networks can focus on in order to make a difference in the digital health sector. 

Contributors to the document included: Advisory Panel Chair 2023-2025 Dr Paul Jones, chief digital information officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and CIO AP chair 2023-2025; Simon Noel, chief nursing information officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and CNIO AP Chair 2023-2025; and Dr Dermot O’Riordan, chief medical information officer East Suffolk and North Essex NHS FT (Ipswich and Colchester) and CCIO AP Chair 2023-2025. 

Other contributions also came from Advisory Panel Chairs 2021-2023: Lisa Emery,
chief transformation, innovation and digital officer NHS Sussex ICB and CIO AP Chair 2021-2023; Sarah Hanbridge, CCIO (Nursing & AHP) at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and CNIO AP Chair 2021-2023; and James Reed, CCIO Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS FT and CCIO AP Chair 2021-2023. 

CCIO, CIO and CNIO AP Chairs and Vice Chairs will be key in helping to ensure that activity surrounding the priorities within the Declaration are carried out, and any priorities set by each panel will feed into the three main priorities as listed in the Declaration.

Network members will be encouraged to support the priorities within the Declaration by sharing related work and achievements.