8th July 2022

Derbyshire NHS Trust earns gold rating for its commitment to professional excellence across its IT services

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust is one of the first NHS organisations nationally to be recognised officially for embracing and recognising the professional development of its own staff and their role in delivering its trailblazing use of digital data and the good use of IT in healthcare. 

The Trust has earned a gold approval rating from the British Computer Society – the chartered institute for IT – for its commitment to “make IT good for society and to share and advance the benefits of technology”.

It follows a whole raft of innovations by the Trust which has seen the use of digital data developed, adopted and validated to the highest standards and which has led to greater technical innovation in the delivery of healthcare.

The work has been spearheaded by the Trust’s informatics team who are experts in the science of applying digital innovation into practical applications for the benefit of patients and the NHS teams looking after them and for harnessing that data to help make decisions which improve patient care.

Jim Austin, executive director and chief information and transformation officer for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is tremendous recognition for the Trust’s approach to digital innovation and especially for our informatics team. The team has done so much to ensure we have really top-quality digital data at our fingertips and for seeing the potential for ways in which IT can be introduced in new and exciting ways which improves the delivery of healthcare for our patients.

“We are proud of this recognition from the British Computer Society which has named us as one of only six gold approved NHS partners nationally in advocating for the highest professional standards in technology. We are keen to build upon this reputation and we have a great team here with a proven track record in rolling out digital advances.”

Adam Thilthorpe, director of professionalism at the British Computer Society, said: “By meeting the standards for our gold award, you have shown considerable dedication to promoting standards and professional pathways within your organisation, for the benefit of your staff and stakeholders.

“I’m delighted to be able to offer your organisation this increased recognition for the work that you have put into developing your digital and technical team. We want to continue to build our communities of practice in partnership with organisations like yours, dedicated to professionalism and registration of skills.”

Louise Pickering, information development officer with Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, has been the project leader in ensuring the trust’s informatics team drives ahead with their professional registration to be at the leading edge of innovations. Louise said: “The next steps are to continue to encourage and support staff to use the many tools included in the British Computer Society membership, and to continue to grow our skills and adapt to the changing world of IT.  We are empowering staff to embrace new technologies and to keep moving forward in the work of IT.  This includes keeping abreast of new developments, software and functionality, working with colleagues across the UK and attending webinars to keep informatics at the forefront of IT in health and care.”

To meet gold status the trust’s informatics team had to achieve over 75% registration to the British Computer Society and over 25% registration to supporting professional bodies. At Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust nearly two-thirds of the informatics professionals are already on the public register of professional IT technicians and 20% are on the Federation for Informatics Professions (FEDIP)’s register for professionals dedicated to delivering better health and care through the advanced use of technology.                              

Some of the digital innovations within Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust during 2021/22 are included in the Notes to Editors section below.


Digital Innovation at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust

The past year has seen the informatics team advising and working alongside the musculoskeletal, physiotherapy and occupational therapy service to embrace new online communications with patients. This has involved technology to assess patients virtually by sending questionnaires to be completed online via text, email or the patient facing app ‘Airmid’, allowing patients to complete personal assessments in the comfort of their home with no time restrictions and in a stress-free environment. This technology has also allowed the submission of photos by patients and the ability to cancel appointments via the app without contacting the service.  In June of this year occupational therapists started sending out appointment invitations allowing patients to select their own appointment, this will reduce cancellation and DNA rates as well as having a cost saving. As we move forward into the autumn more services are all looking to embrace this new technology.

Digital transformation at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust has been a key means of helping clinical services to shape their recovery plans.  This has included support to reduce waiting times and alternative service provision - learning from what worked well during the height of the pandemic.  This work continues throughout 2022/23.

Setting up the digital infrastructure for establishing mass Covid vaccination centres and providing our school-age immunisation service with mobile technology enabled us to reach as many people as quickly as possible for vaccinations.

Robotic processes are being introduced to replace onerous manual tasks with software-led solutions. This reduces the burden on staff - both clinical and administrative – and results in a speedier response as work can continue out-of-hours. 

Within our hospitals, we are providing our nurses with smartphones to easily capture and see information at the patients’ bedside.  This allows us to accurately and actively monitor our patients to ensure that we notice any changes to their condition as quickly as possible.                                                                                                                                 

The Derbyshire Shared Care Record went live in March 2022 and provides clinicians across the county with the ability to see what healthcare or social care support an individual has received. This new confidential computer record joins up these different records to create a more comprehensive and up-to-date record about individual service users. Over time this will help improve the care each person receives. This covers Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council, Chesterfield Royal Hospital, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton, Derbyshire Healthcare, DHU Healthcare, Derbyshire Community Health Services, One Medical Group and primary care/GP services. This helps professionals provide a better service, based on a fuller picture of a person’s health and care needs, rather than just the jigsaw pieces of information stored on their own organisation’s records.

A greater reliance on digital information and ways of working means the risks of cyber-attack could be more far reaching. We have systems to give us advanced warning of potential cyber-attacks, protecting our systems and information.

In the past year we have worked to build a governance matrix to warn us when services are under stress and need extra support.

The integrated facilities management team has completed a successful bid for resources to support the implementation of a digitalised patient meal system which is a mandatory requirement of the National Hospital Food Review. 

A review of telephony needs was conducted to assess the impact of increased home working during the pandemic. With support from the procurement team, this has resulted in savings of £300,000 per year.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust cares for patients across a wide range of services, delivered from multiple sites including 11 community hospitals and more than 30 health centres across Derbyshire, with nearly 1.5 million patient contacts each year. 

The Trust employs approximately 4,300 staff, making it one of the largest providers of specialist community health services in the country, serving a patient population of 1.1 million.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust’s head office is at:

Ashgreen Learning Disability Centre, Ashgate Road, Ashgate, Chesterfield, S42 7JE

Vision:  To be the best provider of local healthcare and to be a great place to work. Values:  To get the basics right, to act with compassion and respect, to make a difference, to value and develop teamwork, to value everyone's contribution to our service delivery and development.

Rebecca Beedie, tel 07717 714239 or email: r.beedie@nhs.net or Rob Steel, tel 07527 420221 or email: robertsteel1@nhs.net

Ref No: DCHS/RB/