Celebrating successes at Digital Pioneers Fellowship Showcase

The NHS Digital Pioneer Fellowship Showcase, held at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital on Wednesday 12th February, celebrated the year’s successes and recognised three individuals for their outstanding accomplishments.

The NHS Digital Pioneer Fellowship supports individuals in the NHS who are delivering innovative digital interventions in their area, 36 fellows were part of the 2019/20 cohort.

The 12-month programme included Action Learning Sets which allowed the fellows to share and discuss challenges, coach each other, learn from experts and collaborate on solutions. They attended learning days where they received training and heard from experts on key topics such as influencing, change management, evaluation and business case development. Each fellow also received one-to-one mentorship from at least one of the 46 mentors supporting the programme.

A final showcase was held on the 12th of February at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital to celebrate the successes of the graduating fellows and hear talks from digital health and transformation experts. The programme recognised three fellows for their outstanding accomplishments in the categories of Empowerment, Impact and Spirit.

Empower Award: Dr Nicola Reynolds

The Empower Award was presented to Dr Nicola Reynolds. Nicola has worked in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and Specialist Children’s Services for over 10 years and is clinical lead for an integrated neurodevelopmental service that provides assessment, diagnosis and ongoing support to children and young people presenting with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD.

Nicola led on a quality improvement project to develop and implement of a web-based platform to support young people with ADHD. The platform, Headscape Focus, connects the ADHD care team, families, schools and other professionals in a secure online environment. Nicola and her team now have approximately 110 families and 33 schools signed up to the platform.

Nicola said: “I have learnt so much and have been so inspired by the Fellowship. Thank you to DigitalHealth.London for the programme and thank you to all my Fellows for your support and enthusiasm.

I now think more strategically, and this has expanded the remit of my digital role. I recently contributed to a bid for funding from NHS X, we were successful in securing £200K to contribute to the development of a digital care pathway for CAMHS. During the programme my reputation has grown as somebody who is digitally knowledgeable.”

Learn more about Nicola’s project here.

Dr Nicola Reynolds

Impact Award: Emily Ward

Emily, winner of the Impact Award, is a senior pharmacist at Chelsea and Westminster hospital who has been practicing in general and acute medicine for more than 15 years. Her project was to implement a web-based portal to share information from secondary care securely with community pharmacists, to improve communication and ultimately patient safety. As of December 2019, 50-60 referrals per week were being sent via the Transfers of Care Around Medicines (TCAM) project, from a standing start of zero.

Emily said: “I’m so proud to have received the Impact Award. My experience as a fellow has improved my confidence and competence to engage with digital solutions in order to improve patient care within my clinical role. My organisation has been very supportive of my participation and this has been a great way to raise my profile as a clinician who digitally engaged.”

Learn more about Emily’s project here.

Emily Ward

Spirit Award: Saira Arif

The spirit award is voted for by the fellows themselves and this year the winner was Saira Arif.

Saira joined the Fellowship programme as Digital Citizen & Innovation Project Manager for North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups (NWL CCGs). Her project whilst on the Fellowship was the Digital Citizen Education Programme. The programme trains volunteers to become Digital Ambassadors so that they have the confidence to teach others in the community about the digital apps and tools available. By the time Saira left the programme over 200 citizens had been educated by Digital Ambassadors and the programme received the London Regional NHS parliamentary award. The blueprint of the scheme has been lifted and shaped by NHSX into a digital ambassador scheme to support the roll out of the NHS App.

Saira is now an Implementation Manager at ORCHA, the World’s leading health app evaluation and advisor organisation.

“I’m honoured to have been awarded the Spirit Award. Thank you to the fellows, DigitalHealth.London, Yinka Makinde and Ian Pettigrew for all your support throughout the year

I feel like the programme, along with my experiences, and the amazing people I’ve met, helped me understand my own personal interests and aspirations. My big ambition now is to help those in developing countries or vulnerable communities, access skills to benefit from digital health.

My biggest lesson learned has been that people are the heart of what we all do and the most important. ‘Digital technology’ is just an enabler and not always the solution.”

Learn more about Saira’s project here.

Saira Arif


Yinka Makinde, DigitalHealth.London Programme Director, said: “I am so proud of this year’s cohort. The showcase provided a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge amazing successes across the Fellowship and hear how taking part in the programme has helped the fellows on their digital journey. Our three winners, Nicola, Emily and Saira embody the hard work, inspiring innovations and patient-focused thinking that the Digital Pioneer Fellowship is here to encourage and support.”

Find out more about the Digital Pioneer Fellowship and this year’s fellows here.