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Local NHS team “delighted” to be shortlisted for Parliamentary Award

The team was nominated by five North West London MPs (quoted below), and has been active in local schools across various boroughs.

Digital Citizen Team Photo 2

KWESI AFFUL AND SAIRA ARIF (PICTURED) ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW: please contact Louise McCudden at nwlccgs.media@nhs.net to arrange.

PHOTO: Top left – Kwesi Afful; Top right – Saira Arif; Bottom left – Lucy Colleer; Bottom right – Carol Graham-Kitt  

The NHS North West London’s Digital Citizen Education programme was nominated by five North West London MPs (Boris Johnson, John McDonnell, Mark Field, Virendra Sharma, and Gareth Thomas) for a Parliamentary Award in the Future NHS category. We can now confirm that the project has been shortlisted on behalf of London as a regional star.

The winners of the NHS Parliamentary Awards will be announced at a special ceremony on 10 July, at the Palace of Westminster. The full shortlist of regional winners is here.

The programme runs across all eight boroughs that make up North West London: Brent, Harrow, Hillingdon, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, and Ealing.

What is the Digital Citizen Education programme?

The NHS in North West London trains volunteers to become ‘digital ambassadors’. These volunteers then go out and about in the community, with NHS support, speaking with community organisations including charities, libraries, and other target spots about how we can all use digital technology to get the best out of the NHS. This training is always free and always held in public spaces.

For anyone who doesn’t have an email address or a smartphone, the NHS also hosts Digital Healthy Hubs, to support people in learning how they can benefit from digital.

Digital Citizenship Education Programme also includes the Digital Healthy Schools programme, which offers all students and teachers in secondary schools access to a platform that teaches them about safe, approved apps they can use. This is free for schools in North West London, as the NHS has funded it for two years, as we know funding challenges for schools could potentially be a barrier to equity of access. As part of this work, students also learn about potential digital health career options. Nowerhill High School (Harrow), Alperton Community School (Brent), Heston Community School (Hounslow), Logic Studio School (Hounslow), and Lampton School (Hounslow) are among the schools to take part so far.

The five goals of the Digital Citizen Education Programme

  1. Provide a platform for every secondary school pupil to learn how to use health apps safely for physical and mental health wellbeing.
  2. Reduce social isolation in care homes by using digital technologies that are low-cost.
  3. Equip our workforce to proactively encourage citizens to use digital health.
  4. Create digital healthy hubs for people to come and learn the basics about data, how to access the internet and therefore benefit from health and care services electronically.
  5. Create a network of volunteer digital ambassadors that encourage and empower people to use digital health to improve self-management.

Top facts

  • NHS in North West London serves a population of 2.5 million registered citizens and 35% have digital NHS accounts, yet only 10% use these accounts regularly.
  • Our goal is to have 200 ambassadors by end of 2019.
  • 92% of the digital ambassadors say they are doing this to help others, by engendering a peer-to-peer support network strengthens communities.

What’s next?

Later this year, we will be inviting schools to go into care homes as part of an intergenerational project so that young people can talk to care home residents about digital health. As part of the care home project, we will trial – with meaningful consent from all involved – devices similar to Amazon Echo in the care homes to reduce social isolation.

Digital is vital to the NHS

Digital Citizen Education is vital to the long-term sustainability of health and social care services. By supporting people to look after themselves where they can, and to choose the most appropriate service for their needs when they do become unwell, we can make sure we’re putting NHS resources where they will do most good for patients – and providing much speedier, safer patient care at the same time.

KWESI AFFUL, Digital Citizen and Innovation Lead for the NHS in North West London said:

“It’s brilliant that so many of our local MPs across the political spectrum nominated the Digital Citizenship Education programme for this award – and we’re delighted to hear that we have now been shortlisted as regional winners.

“92% of the digital ambassadors say they are taking part to help others. It is all about helping people across all ages and background use digital technology to get the best out of the NHS.”


“I’m pleased and proud to support the NHS in Ealing by nominating the great work done by the Digital Citizenship Education team for a Parliamentary Award.

“Improving patient health and care through the use of digital technology is extremely important. I wish the team all the best at the ceremony on 10 July.”

MARK FIELD MP (Cities of London and Westminster) SAID:

“The Digital Citizenship Education programme runs across the whole of North West London, and it is extremely deserving of a Parliamentary Award in the Future NHS category.

“I’m very proud of the work the NHS is doing in my constituency to make better use of digital opportunities for patients.

“I wish them the best of luck at the awards.”

JOHN MCDONNELL MP (Hayes and Harlington) SAID:

“I was delighted to support the NHS in my constituency by nominating the Digital Citizenship Education programme for a Parliamentary Award this year.

“It’s vital that we take the time to recognise this above-and-beyond work that NHS staff do for patients – in this case, improving access to digital technology for all patients across backgrounds and ages.

“Good luck to the team for the awards on 10 July.”

BORIS JOHNSON MP (Uxbridge and South Ruislip) SAID:

“I’m proud to nominate the Digital Citizenship Education programme for a Parliamentary Award this year. The NHS in my constituency is doing important, innovative work to bring the benefits of digital technology into the lives of patients, and this programme is a great example of what we hope to see more of around the country in future.

“I wish NHS North West London CCGs the best of luck at the awards ceremony on 10 July.”


“NHS staff in my constituency work very hard to make sure every patient gets the best possible care. The Digital Citizenship Education programme is about improving digital health access for all.

“Good luck to the team at the awards ceremony on 10 July.”



  1. ATTACHED PHOTO: Top left - Kwesi Afful (Digital Citizen and Innovation Manager); bottom left - Carol Graham-Kitt (Digital Citizen Education Coordinator); top right - Lucy Colleer (Digital Innovation Officer); bottom right - Saira Arif (Digital Citizen and Innovation Project Manager)
  2. VIDEO: Kwesi and Saira are “delighted” to be nominated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9VtB9yYw-M&feature=youtu.be
  3. The NHS Parliamentary Awards launched last year to celebrate the NHS’s 70th birthday.
  4. NHS North West London CCGs commission health and care services across eight boroughs: Brent, Harrow, Hillingdon, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow, and Ealing.
  5. Full shortlist available here. https://www.england.nhs.uk/nhs-parliamentary-awards/about/regional-winners/#main-content
  6. Last year over 250 Members of Parliament nominated an individual or organisation for an award.
  7. The winners will be presented with their awards in parliament on 10 July 2019. We will send you a follow up press release with photos after the event.
  8. MPs can nominate an individual or organisation for an award in one of ten categories, which are: The Excellence in Healthcare Award; The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award; The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award; The Excellence in Primary Care Award; The Future NHS Award; The Health Equalities Award; The Care and Compassion Award; The Wellbeing at Work Award; The Volunteer of the Year; The Lifetime