South Warwickshire NHS publishes Impact Report against levelling up measures

Last year, former education secretary Justine Greening launched the Purpose Goals, the UK’s first levelling up framework, designed to guide efforts on the drive for equality. This month, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust has become the first UK organisation to publish an Impact Report sharing their social impact against the measures outlined in the framework.

There are 14 ‘Purpose Goals’ in total, “intended to guide how the urgent ambition to level up the UK can actually be achieved”, by “[focusing] on key life stages and [highlighting] the main issues that need to be resolved in order to create a level playing field for all.” “Closing the digital divide” is included among the goals.

To begin, the report notes how “the trust’s digital transformation has been accelerated through the coronavirus pandemic, with digital ways of working and large-scale initiatives, including a new patient portal, embedded as part of an extensive drive to future-proof its operations and delivery of services.”

Under the goal of “good health and wellbeing”, the trust lays out some of their measurable impacts including two with a digital focus. Video and interactive content is utilised to support mental health, and health and wellbeing is promoted on the trust’s social media pages. In addition, the report notes that “Digital single point of access has been introduced for collaboration between community, hospital services and social settings.”

The “closing the digital divide” goal sets out the majority of the trust’s work on digital transformation. “The trust runs a number of programmes and policies designed to boost digital skills and confidence,” the report states, “and works to improve internet connectivity and accessibility across its network.”

The report goes on to highlight how staff are offered support in accessing electronic patient records and video conferencing software, as well as basic IT tools such as Excel.

“The trust is aware of the issues around digital poverty and where technology is needed for certain services, patients are provided with the correct equipment,” the report says. Additionally, “the trust has applied charitable funds to support vulnerable patients in the provision of tablets to enable them to complete training on parenting, and access video calls with professionals.”

To read the full report, please click here.