NHS Digital Pioneer Fellowship


Creating leaders who deliver impact through digital transformation

About the Programme

The NHS Digital Pioneer Fellowship supports annually up to 30 ‘change makers’ employed by NHS organisations in London to design and lead transformation projects underpinned by digital innovation, that accelerate:

  • Growth in innovation adoption
  • Attainment of compelling business cases that drive year on year sustainability
  • Delivery of Impact

The fellowship is designed to Equip the fellows with new skills and knowledge (e.g. how to build good business cases, how to use Agile as a project delivery technique, how to structure a good evaluation, how to define and manage benefits realisation, change management principles etc). It is also designed to Inspire fellows by enabling them to hear about the art of the possible from others. The programme is designed to Connect fellows to like-minded peers, influencers in the system, and people who can mentor them.

It is aimed at NHS clinicians and healthcare professionals currently employed by an NHS organisation in London, from a range of NHS disciplines including Nursing; Medical; AHP; Operational, at any level who

  1. Are currently leading or significantly involved in delivering a digital transformation project within their organisation;
  2. Are recommended by their host organisation through a letter of support;
  3. Are able to confirm that this programme is in line with their professional development needs;
  4. Are able to commit to attending the 7 mandatory learning days.

12-month programme

The programme lasts for 12 months, during which time fellows will be expected to attend 7 full days of learning plus additional ‘reflective learning’ time (estimated 2 hours per learning day). We also recommend that fellows allow another half day for further reading, learning or connecting with other fellows.

Frederick Martin, Head of Digital Technology, London DCO, NHS England – London

“As an IT post graduate, I have a strong grasp of digital technology, however, I recognise that I have more to learn in the area of technology based transformational change within the NHS. Indeed, my current role often requires a high level of expertise in Change management.

Participation in the fellowship will allow me to come together with like-minded colleagues for the purpose of utilising digital innovation to accelerate the pace of transformation within and across the organisations in my assigned STPs.

I view the NHS Digital Pioneer fellowship as a prestigious scheme and badge of excellence that will securing better opportunities for me in my NHS career going forward.”

Rebecca Blackburn, Commissioner, East Merton Partnership Manager, Transforming Primary Care, NHS South West London Alliance (Kingston, Richmond, Merton and Wandsworth CCGs)

“My current role tasks me with solving and improving issues in line with local and national strategy and it is very easy to often not look beyond what neighbouring providers and CCGs are doing as familiar is often easier. Why go round when you can go through? I would argue that doing things differently is not always a skill you can learn within your own immediate network since there are more risks and barriers. I feel strongly this opportunity will offer a unique setting to explore and address my gaps in knowledge alongside like-minded ambitious people.

My desire to join the fellowship is to not only share the insights that I have found in my work delivering projects for the CCG, but also to join a community where I can learn and tap into others who have innovated. Through this collaboration I hope to both enhance the work I am doing and identify as a leader in ‘the new’”

Dr Vikram Palit, Paediatrician, Clinical Innovation and Improvement Fellow, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust

“The NHS Digital Pioneer Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for clinicians interested in health entrepreneurship and digital health solutions to work together, collaborate and develop their skills to affect sustainable change in the way we deliver healthcare.

Through this programme, I hope to acquire the necessary skills and expertise to be able to effectively lead large-scale digital transformation projects in my day-to-day clinical practice. For instance, with the imminent roll-out of CWFT’s new Cerner electronic patient record system, there are several opportunities to lead its implementation across the two hospital sites and facilitate ongoing clinician engagement. Through the dedicated teaching sessions and expert feedback delivered through this programme, I believe I will be able to take the next steps towards leading these type of transformative changes within a healthcare setting.”