First impact report published for Digital Pioneers programme

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) has published their first Digital Pioneers programme impact report.

The Digital Pioneers programme was launched in April 2022 to provide education to the workforce and drive forward digital health ideas and innovations in primary care, recognising that there had been an acceleration in digital health within the NHS at an unprecedented scale and pace since COVID-19.

Within the impact report, read about primary care achievements from the first year of the programme.

Dave Belshaw, Digital Transformation Director at the AHSN NENC, said:

“During the first year of the programme, our team have worked collaboratively with partners and invested a significant amount of time building relationships in the region to understand the needs of our local primary care services, and how we can add value in a complex and ever demanding NHS.

“I’m really proud of what has been achieved so far by working together. In the first year there has been 71 champions through our Digital Champions education programme; 556 people reached through events and masterclass sessions – which have been driven by primary care requests and needs; and 10 innovative ideas which are currently being supported through our AHSN NENC Innovation Pathway.

“We continue to develop the programme and, going into year 2, I’m pleased that we’re building on these strengths and achievements. The Digital Champions course has now been CPD accredited, and we’re just about to launch a project call to fund six innovative projects up to the value of £20,000.

“Thank you to every individual and organisation we have worked with who have supported and embraced the programme.”

Read the impact report here.

Current Digital Pioneers opportunities

Call for innovators to develop digital solutions for NHS primary care services

Do you have a sustainable solution to help primary care services to meet NHS Net Zero targets, or an innovation that will help to empower patients in a Shared Care Prescribing Agreement?

We’ve  launched a project call, inviting applications from innovators to bid for funding to develop digital solutions for NHS primary care services, up to the value of £20,000.

Applications from innovators from all areas are invited – whether businesses, individuals, universities, NHS teams or charities – who are interested in forming collaborations to develop solutions.

Projects must have a digital or technology focus and be led by or delivered in partnership with a primary care team.

Find out more about the project call and submit and application at:

The deadline for applications is Friday, 7th July 2023.


Sign up to become a Digital Champion

Applications are open for Digital Champions courses with a number of dates throughout 2023. Digital Champions is a free CPD-accredited 12 month education and mentor programme for primary care staff who want to inspire others to embrace digital technology.

Now in its second year, so far over 70 primary care staff from the region have signed up and reported benefits including:

  • Website improvements and accessibility
  • Reduction in phone calls and increase in self-management
  • Meeting QOF targets
  • Personal development and leadership skills

Find out more and register your interest.

The next course will commence on Tuesday, 19th September.

Please note this course is for primary care staff in the North East and North Cumbria only.