Video: NHSX’s Blueprinting case studies – building a digital future

The NHSX Blueprinting team joined us at the latest HTN Now series, concluding our first day of events with a presentation and panel discussion on Blueprinting. The team were joined by a number of health tech professionals from NHS trusts, who shared their experiences and case studies.

Speakers at the webcast included:

  • Paul Charnley , Co-Chair of the Blueprinting Steering Group
  • James Reed, Former Co-Chair of the Blueprinting Steering Group
  • Tremaine Richard-Noel, Head of Emerging Technology, Automation Accelerator Programme Director, Northampton General Hospital
  • Jayne Flynn, Assistant Director of Systems, Information and Business Intelligence, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust
  • Saleem Haider, People Participation Digital Lead, East London NHS Foundation Trust
  • David Hewitt, CIO, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust.

Paul and James, who have shared their Blueprinting work before at several HTN Now events, kicked off the session by providing an overview of the NHSX Blueprinting programme and its achievements to date, as well as explaining how to get involved.

This was then followed by several examples of NHS trusts’ Blueprinting journeys, around topics such as improving the efficiencies of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), digitising consent forms for vaccination and immunisation, patient participation in digital transformation, and work within children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

Session host Paul Charnley, Co-Chair of the Blueprinting Steering Group, set out the plan for the session and introduced James, Former Co-Chair of the Blueprinting Steering Group, who briefly explained the benefits of Blueprinting.

James said: “There’s now quite a long history on the Blueprinting programme…it was really about finding a structured means of recording what people were doing, what the projects were and, most importantly, what the learning was, and [to] provide resources to help other people further down the line to do the same thing and make the most of that learning.

“I think it’s fair to say that the GDE [Global Digital Exemplar] programme has largely been laid to rest now but Blueprinting is still going strong and is the single lasting legacy of the whole programme.”

Summarising where they are at the moment, he shared images to illustrate the successes so far, including stats that showed there have been 2,717 platform users, 102 trusts engaged in the work, and over 10,000 unique Blueprint page views. Around 164 people have attended the project’s 11 training workshops, while there are currently 186 Blueprints and 2,970 related artefacts available, with 114 new Blueprints agreed. NHSX has also worked with trusts to develop good practice guides that showcase digital transformation across the health system.

“In terms of what these things actually are…they are a structured collection of assets and methodologies. It’s not a single document, it’s a collection,” James explained, later adding, “the benefits [are]…it’s about doing things better, more quickly. There’s a big need still for digital transformation – that’s not gone away.”

Paul then took over to explain the different types of Blueprints that can be found on the site, as well as the kinds of topics and projects that are currently available through the National Blueprint Library, or in development, such as ones around digital inclusion, AI, intelligent voice recording, remote monitoring, and virtual wards. After inviting the audience to join the programme, and share their work, he then handed over to the panel of trust representatives, who explained their own Blueprinting projects.

“One thing the trusts that we work with see as quite daunting is how to get started”

Tremaine Richard-Noel, Head of Emerging Technology at Northampton General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (NGH),  joined the chat first to share his experiences of Blueprinting at NGH. You can find out more about Tremaine’s work through our Interview Series, which focused on the NGH Automation Accelerator Programme Director last summer.

On NGH’s Blueprint, entitled ‘Improving Efficiencies through Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as a Centre of Excellence’, he said: “There was so much to our programme. When we stepped back and looked at what we were doing, we were clear on standards like how to identify processes, how to track benefits, and then we’ve got things like governance, structures, and processes on how you maintain and look after your automations. We’ve had some great feedback in terms of that content we created. One thing the trusts that we work with see as quite daunting is how to get started with a lot of technologies because of how to tackle the governance and that side.

“To reflect on the Blueprinting process, one thing that’s been particularly good is that it’s not just write and submit – there’s two-way feedback and the fact there’s a panel of real people at the other end, who are from a range of backgrounds across the NHS is quite useful for making sure this is something that is actually going to help.”

“It’s something that can be shared and adapted for other trusts”

Moving onto digitising consent forms within vaccination and immunisation, for school-aged children, Jayne Flynn, Assistant Director of Systems, Information and Business Intelligence at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, took over the hosting helm, to share her trust’s experiences.

Jayne said: “It was a great example of co-production between our clinical service, my systems team and EI, and it’s a great example of digital innovation, as it was in-house development, it was delivered at pace, it was cost-effective, and it really got to grips and demonstrated our digital capability as a trust.

“We have enhanced and adapted it for our COVID vaccination programme and realised that it’s something that can be shared and adapted for other trusts…the service had been asking for a digitising consent forms for a number of years…the consent portal itself is an online, secure portal that captures the consent. In the back end, administrative part of the portal, there’s the ability for clinicians to clinically triage, to filter out ‘do not consents’…each school is configured in the portal, a unique link is generated…the school can then send to the parents and the parents then fill the form in. It captures the child’s demographics, medical status, and consent.”

“We’ve invited our patients to join a digital community”

Saleem Haider, People Participation Digital Lead at East London NHS Foundation Trust, later took to the virtual stage to explain a Blueprint based around people engagement and patient empowerment.

“We are a Digital Aspirant and this particular framework is a year into its journey…[there have been] incredible conversations with our patients and service users to be able to highlight and gain their perspectives of their digital capabilities, lives and how ready they are to engage with the trust digitally,” he said.

“We’ve invited our patients to join a digital community – it allows us to be able to discuss and engage with them on their readiness, and to really articulate three main areas; establishing their digital needs, being involved in co-creating the digital solutions, and I feel the most important part of this is the dissemination of these solutions back out.”

Saleem noted that through their work at the Digital People Participation programme they’d found four main areas of digital exclusion: access to digital devices, connectivity to the internet, digital skills, and also location.

“Ultimately what we’re aiming for…its that digital empowerment leads to patient empowerment,” he noted.

“There is a little bit of revising, tweaking, reviewing”

Finally, David Hewitt, CIO, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, shared what his trust had worked on for its Blueprint – Digitising Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

David commented: “What we wanted to do was to focus on how we could support the remodelling of the referral and assessment functions…our initial investigations revealed that about 68 per cent of the referrals coming through were not appropriate for the CAMHS service and were then being redirected.”

Their actions on this included developing a Combined Care System that brings together information for clinicians, carers, schools and community services, as well as additionally increasing the proportion of children who could self-refer into services.

On the Blueprinting, he added: “The Blueprinting that we’d seen was mainly part of a GDE programme, so we’d seen these huge 200-300-page Blueprints. So, we wanted to make sure we’d got something that we felt had enough scope to create a good Blueprint…we may have been able to split this into more bitesize chunks…being much more realistic about the scope would be one of the key elements.

“The process is quite challenging in some places and, in order to assure the quality of a Blueprint, there is a little bit of revising, tweaking, reviewing. That does take time…having independent people reviewing through, asking questions, getting clarification, was hugely beneficial.”


To find out more about the Blueprinting platform and how to access it, email

Catch up on the full session – and any moments you may have missed – via the video below: