Digital Inclusion Forum

HI NENC identified a need to bring together people from across sectors to explore digital inclusion, the challenges to overcome, and identify best practice opportunities that could be shared across the region.

As a result of this, HI NENC held three online webinars to bring digital leaders from across the region to discuss the concept of a forum. It was agreed that a forum would support transformation across the ICS footprint.


Digital technology is changing the way health and care services are delivered, so it’s important that we address digital inclusion so that no one is left behind. The challenge for many services is that a significant proportion of people are currently digitally excluded and this impacts directly on health outcomes with regard to healthcare access.*

To address this, HI NENC has established a regional forum which aims to bring together key stakeholders interested in digital inclusion. The forum is evolving over time with an aim to showcase best practice which can be spread and adopted across the region for the wider benefit of citizens.

 Overall aims and objectives

HI NENC is working with voluntary sector organisations in the region to develop and run the digital inclusion forum. The aims are to:

  • Create a community of practice.
  • Showcase best practice in digital inclusions.
  • Improve access to services.
  • Create a safe space to debate on future work plans and activities.

The programme will provide a vehicle to bring together organisations across the ICS to enhance collaboration and embed joint working even further, to enhance digital services skills and services to support patient/public digital knowledge and normalising digital tools. The project is also closely linked to the Digital First Primary Care programme of work.

*As reported in the Good Foundation Digital exclusion & health inequalities 2021 report.

Further reading

Our Digital Inclusion Review: Making health and care digitally inclusive in the North East and North Cumbria

One of our priorities is to identify and facilitate opportunities to use digital health initiatives to transform how health and care services are designed and delivered. However, we understand that without adequate consideration, digital transformation can exacerbate existing health inequalities, or even create new ones.

That’s why this work to understand digital inclusion is so important. Working with Collective Impact Agency, we published a review in February 2023 which examines digital inclusion policies and sets out a number of recommendations to understand where we can focus our efforts to make the greatest impact for our population. Read the review here.

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For more information about the Digital Inclusion Forum please contact Leanne Maitland