• University of Warwick unveils new degree in partnership with University Hospitals Birmingham FT 
  • Digital healthcare science course will be available at undergraduate and apprenticeship levels 
  • Trust offering paid summer placement to selected students after first year of study 

A university and a teaching trust have launched a degree designed to train people for a new digital healthcare scientist role within the NHS.

University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust and the University of Warwick are recruiting to the course, the first of its kind, this year.

The digital healthcare science degree will take the “fusion science” approach to training, involving aspects of digital, physiological and behavioural sciences, as well as academic and professional development and clinical decision-making.

Warwick Manufacturing Group – a research department at the university – developed the role in partnership with the trust, which has already developed its own mortality rate software, in competition with national measures.

The course will open as a full-time undergraduate course and as an apprenticeship.

Students who graduate from the course will then be able to apply to become a member of the Academy for Healthcare Sciences under the digital healthcare science category – the first new healthcare professional branch within the academy “for many years”.

Executive director of workforce and innovation at the trust Tim Jones said UHB will offer six full-time graduate students the opportunity to have a paid placement during the summer holidays following the first year of study.

He added: “This is an exciting new degree which will help us train people for a significant new role in the NHS.”

Ed Peile, professor of medical education and associate dean for teaching at Warwick Medical School, said the course will aim to offer “broad, holistic” training to enable graduates.

He said: “Rarely do patients and health service users have a single problem.

“They have multiple, often complex, problems affecting their health and wellbeing. Thus, the help they need is not confined to a single discipline. They need broad, holistic, scientific professionalism.

“The ‘fusion science’ approach developed here is specifically designed to ensure that the new digital healthcare science workforce can meet these needs.”