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Digital First event sets out the next steps to connect primary care

17th December 2019

On 17 December over 100 NHS clinicians and colleagues attended a major event to provide an update on the progress of Digital First accelerators across London – the NHS programme that supports delivery of digital access to NHS services and helps patients and carers manage their health.

Presentation slides here

Organised by the Healthy London Partnership, Digital First: Next Steps was an opportunity to share learning on how partners inside and outside London were driving and spreading innovations that will connect primary care.

In a packed agenda, representatives from London’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) provided an update to how their individual ‘Accelerator’ sites were progressing. Digital First Accelerator sites are local areas selected by STPs using set criteria to act as leaders to support the design and implementation of a digital ‘front door’ into NHS services. A core objective for each Accelerator site is to map how elements can integrate to increase digital solutions for patients such as the ability to offer video consultations, ability to book into extended access hubs and ability for patients to consult their GP online.

The event was led by the London Digital transformation team, with James Hempsted-Kingham,  Head of Primary Care Digital Technology – NHS England (London) providing an update on new ways of working including pathway redesign, theory of change methodology and a description of integral tools required to be able to shape an effective accelerator site to support delivery in areas and future direction. Dr Jonty Heaversedge then explained the importance of clinical context behind Digital First and the Digital First landscape.

This was followed by presentations from clinicians and local area STPs on their areas of work such as social prescribing, the digital front door for Urgent Treatment Centres and Innovating through Primary Care Networks with Digital First and Improving Telephony.

A Devon STP provided an insight to Psychology using Digital and a clinician from East Kent CCGs discussed Primary Care Networks and the Unscheduled Care landscape.

A Question and Answer session followed the presentations which resulted in lively audience participation. There was then a presentation on Driving and Spreading Innovation by the Health Innovation Network and the meeting was concluded with a presentation by Liz Wise Director – Primary Care and Public Health Commissioning on the changes taking place in primary care, the Primary Care Network platform and the next steps necessary to deliver the Digital First agenda.

Dr Jonty Heaversedge (Clinical Director – Imperial College Health Partners) said, “Providing connected high quality care will ensure that Londoners can have their needs met in an effective and timely way. This is a major ambition for the NHS and necessitates continued commitment and capacity to support health and care systems integrate digital technology into pathways of care – creating a seamless experience for patients. This requires ongoing work with staff and market innovators to co-design end-to-end care process that best meet requirements of both patients and health care professionals. This was a hugely important event to review how this work is progressing in each of the STPs in London, share learning, and celebrate our achievements.”

For additional information or to find out more about Digital First visit the HLP website or contact the team at



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