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Case study

Digital Inclusion

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 10 million people in the UK lacking digital skills, 2 million people in 2022 not being able to afford internet and the north east having the largest percentage of people with limited user experience, digital inclusion is a key priority.

To address this, the AHSN NENC established a regional forum which aimed to bring together key stakeholders interested in digital inclusion.


  • 5 forum’s held
  • 146 people attended
  • 7 guest speakers
  • Over 154 people now registered as part of the community

The digital inclusion forum has grown in strength over the last year and continues to evolve. It is widely attended by different people from across the region from health care, social care and the voluntary sector.

The key aim of the forum is to bring together best practice from across our demographic area and nationally which can be spread and adopted across the region for the wider benefit of citizens. All speakers are encouraged to ensure that the audience have top tips to take away and things that are easily transferable to their own work environments or things that they can link in to. As well as creating a safe space to debate key topics and help to improve access to services.

Digital inclusion can be a minefield to many and as it evolves it is essential that both the AHSN NENC and our partners strive to ensure that everyone is included in the delivery of services.

The team has heard from a varied group of speakers from the Veterans society in Sunderland, Durham’s digital project, Gateshead’s Type 1 kids diabetes repurposing project and academic research.

The work, supported by the ICB, has also been able to fund a policy review that has been published and shared which covers the following five main areas:

  • People
  • Place
  • Relationships
  • Workforce
  • Digital Health Literacy

The report can be found here: AHSN-NENC-Digital-inclusion-policy-review-2022-FINAL.pdf The forum is a great place to ensure the digital divide doesn’t become wider through more services being moved online. It brings us back to ensuring that ‘No one gets left behind’.

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