As a part-time student, taking his MSc while working as an information manager, Simon Wellesley-Miller is able to put what he learns into practice in the NHS straight away.

He has been with Devon Partnership NHS Trust, which provides mental health services, for around five years after a career in data analysis which has seen him working in child protection and for the police.

Simon Wellesley-Miller

He is hugely enthusiastic about what can be achieved in terms of NHS organisational effectiveness and service improvement if better use is made of all the data at its disposal.

Simon says that he was making practical use of what he learned “pretty much from day one” after starting the University of Exeter’s cutting edge postgraduate MSc in Health Data Science.

It is already making a considerable difference to the Trust’s ability to forecast demand, and to better anticipate the likely impact of proposed changes – especially important as so much of the NHS is working to the limits of its capacity.

He is also able to pass on what he has been taught to others in his team.

Simon is now looking forward to his second year of study in order to start benefiting from new ideas about machine learning.

As the course is taught by experts from industry, as well as academia and the health service, it means that methods used by high tech private sector companies can be adapted for patients.

In future he hopes to see health data science come into far wider use to optimise health service organisation.