NHS Digital’s Rob Shaw on Leeds as a digital hotspot

12th April 2017

Happy second birthday, Leeds Digital Festival, I’m only surprised there aren’t a few more candles on the virtual cake, given the city’s affair with technology stretches back many years.

I shouldn’t be altogether shocked; this is Yorkshire after all. There is more than a little truth in the stereotype that we just get on with things, rather than necessarily taking the time to stop and celebrate.

NHS Digital itself has just seen its fourth birthday (no cake for us either) and we’ve perhaps been guilty of the same thing. Our team here, along with many different individuals and organisations from across Leeds and further afield, have worked together to deliver 21st digital services that support health and care around the clock, across the whole country.

Given we employ hundreds of staff across the city, it’s quite likely you live down the road – or even next door – to somebody who is helping to transform the way we look after our own health, wellbeing and care through digital services and information.

The person standing next to you in the bus queue could well be a technologist who helps ensure clinicians can access vital health records at any time of the day electronically.  Or an analyst that can make sense of millions of rows of data to support your hospital to best target its services. Or a developer who has created a simple online service that saves patients’ hours in getting their prescription or the right hospital appointment.

But we haven’t done this in isolation. Leeds isn’t just the home of NHS Digital but a great, forward-thinking council, amazing hospitals, very active clinical commissioning groups and a plethora or brilliant digital suppliers including two of the biggest GP suppliers in country

We also benefit from an incredible strength and depth of specialist suppliers almost literally on our doorstep. Our staff work hand in glove with other talented teams at companies like BJSS, Infinity Works, XML Solutions, Mastek, Hippo Digital and Redcentric

We are a city of many talents and together, in partnership, we can and have delivered great things.

So Leeds Digital Festival gives us an opportunity to pause, albeit briefly (we have much still to do), and consider all that we have achieved and all we are working to achieve to make health and care better.

Born and bred in Leeds, I love this city and want to see it grow to challenge London. I have no doubt that by the time we’re blowing out a few more virtual candles, we’ll not just be rivalling The Capital but will be leading the way.

With only a minor celebration, of course – we need to get on.
To find out more about the events we will be hosting as part of Leeds Digital Festival, please visit our event website.