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The Digital Health and Care Leadership Programme (previously NMAHP Digital Health and Care Leadership Programme), led by NHS Education for Scotland and sponsored by Scottish Government, supports ambitious and experienced health and care professionals to influence digital health and care in their organisations.

Introduction to DLP
Digital Champion logo

Health and care professionals are at the forefront of an ever-evolving health and social care system, with digital health and care playing a central role in improving quality service provision in Scotland. Health and care professionals require enhanced leadership skills and technological competence to provide digital solutions to enhance safe and effective person-centred care and influence the digital agenda at local and national levels.

The Digital Health and Care Leadership Programme (DLP) supports Scotland's Digital Health and Care Strategy - Enabling, Connecting and Empowering: Care in the Digital Age (Scottish Government, 2021) and aims to:

  • Maximise the potential of digital solutions to benefit people.
  • Support participants to develop the strategic leadership skills required to influence the use of digital solutions in health and care delivery.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the creative use of existing and new digital solutions to support health and care. Digital health and care is more relevant to practitioners and the population than ever before. Health and care professionals have been critical throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so in the recovery and remobilisation phase through new ways of working. 

Programme Overview
A learner looking at the words: discussion groups, social learning, workshops, peer learning and webinars

The aim of DLP is that participants will develop their leadership skills and influence the use of digital solutions to benefit people.

It is an eight-month programme structured around three themes:

  1. Strategic leadership and innovation;
  2. Application of technology to support service delivery and benefit patients/people;
  3. Enhancing the contribution to technology-enabled practice.

The four learning outcomes supporting this are:

      L1.  Critically review the digital health and care policy and practice within an evolving context.

      L2.  Provide strategic leadership to influence the contribution of health and care professionals in the delivery of local digital health and care strategies.

      L3.  Investigate opportunities for learning, collaborating and networking with others to maximise the use of technology to benefit service delivery within organisations.

      L4.  Devise, lead and demonstrate the impact of a digital health and care project that uses technology for the benefit of service users and/or staff focused on recovery, rehabilitation and new ways of working.

The programme adopts a blended approach to learning including online webinars, presentations, discussion groups, workshops, peer learning and practical activities. Programme participants will identify an aspect of practice that can be enhanced using technology and undertake a digital improvement project. Support and guidance will be provided by NHS Education for Scotland and members of the digital health and care network. 

Programme Descriptor available to download below. 

Evaluation and Impact

The impact of the programme is many and varied and there have been a variety of projects since the programme was launched in 2014. 

Here are just a few of the comments and projects from the last few years. 

“This course has been inspirational – giving me confidence to be bolder and see opportunities from a digital angle”

“Colleagues are often resistant to change and new ways of working, and I feel more confident in offering other solutions to treatment and effective management of time and resources that work for them and more importantly, patients”

“The Digital Health and Care Leadership programme has given me the platform to bring a long-term idea to fruition … the course gave me a platform or education and peer support to bring my ideas to life.”

References to quotes Snippets 2021

“My horizons are broader … I think I have a much greater appreciation and working relationship with our ehealth department and understand the importance of getting a cross systems approach rather than looking at the needs of my own service in isolation”.

“Extremely beneficial to link in with others across Scotland and share ideas and developments”.

“Because of that confidence I’ve been given as being part of the Programme that has enabled me to lead the change in my health board”.

References to quotes – national evaluation (Proudfoot 2016)

Below are some examples of projects from previous cohorts. 

Anthony Clark, Programme Manager, HSCP Perth and Kinross
“The transition of NearMe into Social Care” highlighting the challenges in leadership not present in some of the larger projects. My Aim was to identify these areas within social care and encourage the rollout of NearMe to support already stretched resources.


Clare Black, Health Improvement Lead, NHS Ayrshire & Arran
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, telephone lines were set up to deal with calls relating to health protection, tests and results, contact tracing and vaccination. This improvement project relates to implementation of Netcall – a digital call centre solution – to provide a new and more effective telephone system for incoming COVID-19 public health calls. 


Ali Howie, MSK Team Lead, NHS Dumfries & Galloway
The project Involved collaboration with IT services and MSK Team to develop Digital forms to collect and store patient information, allow data collection and Audit, and ensure improved patient safety with real time access to patient records. 


Tracy Bowen, Planned Care OT Team Lead, NHS Fife
Using iPads to normalise the experience of Covid and to support management of common symptoms. Used during sessions to access meaningful support, increase engagement in recovery, help build trust, reduce anxiety and provide education. iPads enabled the therapist, patient and carer to take a virtual tour of the patient's home to promote confidence and independence for a successful return home and ongoing recovery. 


Fran Nice, Health Visitor, NHS Grampian
In March 2020 after home visits were stopped due to the pandemic, the Aberdeenshire Health Visitors Near Me Waiting Room was created. This allowed for families to be seen virtually and for much needed connections to be made. Throughout this experience, practice evolved, with the developed wellbeing tips and the use of platforms like Teams, significantly increasing the digital capacity in Health Visiting Team across Aberdeenshire.