In a bid to help reduce the digital divide across our communities, Hywel Dda University Health Board has achieved the Digital Inclusion Charter for Wales accreditation, the first health board in Wales to do so.
The health board wants to develop a digital inclusion programme focusing on people’s digital skills and confidence, ensuring equal access to, and improvement in engaging with health and other public services.
Recognising that digital access and skills is a social factor of health, the health board is embracing the opportunity of working towards a digitally empowered population. Its digital inclusion programme will lead, connect and support a joint approach to various digital inclusion work across the health board and with its partners to equip its workforce and population for the future.
Huw Thomas, Director of Finance at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “Digital inclusion is an important aspect to digitising any service. Without digital access, skills and confidence we will never be certain that our population are truly ready for the ever changing and evolving digital world. We all have a responsibility to ensure that there are ample opportunities and support available within our services and wider communities to reduce the risk of leaving people behind.
“I hope our commitment will open the conversations within health and care services and organisations across the region, and Wales as a whole, and will inspire other organisations to consider digital inclusion as a key enabler in everything they do.”
Anthony Tracey, Digital Director added: “Digital is not the answer to all our problems, but with the access, skills and confidence, it can make a huge difference and play a key role in the support and management of our health and well-being. We want to make sure our population can access and engage with services in ways they choose. Developing the digital inclusion programme will help us address the digital divide and, working with all sectors of the region, it will offer opportunities and equal access to services for local people.”
Michelle Hickin, Digital Inclusion Manager commented: “We want everyone in our communities to feel empowered and able to make informed choices around ways to engage with services and manage their health and well-being. Digital has a place in all our lives and can hugely benefit us, but we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone, open our minds to the opportunities and allow ourselves to be inspired.”
Digital Communities Wales certified the health board’s accreditation in September 2022 having successfully demonstrated its commitment to implementing the Digital Inclusion Charter principles.
Further information about the Charter is available here: Digital inclusion in Wales (gov.wales)