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Digital Skills a priority for NHSScotland Estates and Facilities staff


Better digital skills and access to technology could transform the efficiency of Health and Social Care in Scotland.

That was one of the key findings from “Digital Literacy”, a research report looking at the skills and capabilities of Scotland’s 19,000 Estates and Facilities team, such as maintenance, portering, cleaning and catering staff.

And in line with a recent NES study, the report found that staff within the Health and Social Care sector need to become more digitally skilled to be better able to deliver technology-enabled care in the future.

Dorothy Wright, NES Workforce Director said:

“Recent years have seen a surge in the use of technology within the workplace. To deliver the best service it is important that all staff are able to reach their full potential, this includes adopting digital approaches. Building a sustainable learning culture is key to harnessing the power of digital technology.”

During 2017, the NES team worked with a number of NHSScotland Boards to explore the digital literacy of staff working in Estates and Facilities roles and to establish what might be needed for them to become digitally capable and digitally enabled in the future.

Estates and Facilities staff work in a range of healthcare settings and, with approximately 19,000 staff working across Scotland, this is one of the largest staff groups. Researchers collected information in relation to staff access to, and use of, digital technology in the workplace and at home, current skill levels, digital work requirements and learning needs regarding new and existing technologies.

Recommendations for managers and leaders include:

• provide all staff with ready access to technology within the workplace
• foster staff commitment to the process of digital transformation
• consider role requirements and usage of technology throughout the employee life-cycle.
• consider prioritising time for learning for staff across all job families, particularly those who are ‘digitally excluded’ – meaning they have very little access to or confidence in using technology
• work in partnership to design and deliver differentiated digital skills programmes

Work has already begun on a co-designed programme, ‘Digital Matters” to help people with their core digital skills.


Note to Editors

1. Estɑtes ɑnd Fɑcilities staff cover ɑ wide rɑnɡe of different occupɑtions ɑnd professions, from cɑterinɡ, domestic, porterinɡ ɑnd lɑundry stɑff to electriciɑns, enɡineers, ɡɑrdeners, joiners, plumbers, drivers ɑnd security stɑff.

2. NES used a mixed-method approach which resulted in 38 questionnaire responses, 15 interviews and 4 focus groups across 5 different job families.