NHS Python Community Board

20th May 2021 Meeting Summary

Board Members


  • Alex Cheung - NHSE/I (Chair)
  • Sophie Williams, PhD -Barts Health NHS Trust
  • Dr Mark A. Bailey -Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
  • Haris Shuaib MPhys MSc MIPEM MFCI - Guy’s & St. Thomas NHS Foundation Trust
  • Juan Adriano - Surrey and Borders Partnership NHSFoundation Trust
  • Craig R. Shenton, PhD - NHSX
  • Mary Amanuel - NHSX
  • Jonathan Pearson, PhD - NHSX


  • John O’Connell - NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit
  • Arouba Zubair - NHSX

Agenda Items

  1. Welcome and Introductions
The Chair welcomed attendees to the board and attendees introduced
  1. Purpose of NHS Python Community Board
There was an open discussion on the aims and purposes of the board. The
key themes were around whether the board would be a board of governance
or a working group; technical advisory group or an advocacy group, if the
structure would be informal or formal; and how we will work together to other
communities of practice, to achieve our aims.
It was agreed that the board would be semi-formal and would meet monthly.
  1. Survey Results Summary
The survey results from the first Community Survey were presented.
Key findings:
- Analysts, data or clinical scientists and clinicians were the most
popular professions (in that order).
- A majority of community members come from regional or local
organisations (trusts), however the most common host organisations
were NHS England/Improvement and NHSX.
- The biggest concern raised in feedback was around the difficulty of
installing python in NHS laptops, particularly at the trust level and how
NHS.pycom will share best practice examples.
Regarding IT, it is understood that the NHS Python Community cannot take
responsibility for changing Trust IT systems to allow python installation as
contracts are decided by individual Trusts themselves.
It was discussed that community members could use Jupyter Notebooks as 
an alternative, and that members might be able to install Anaconda
(python distribution) without admin rights subject to internal IT procedures.
  1. Communication channels
In terms of communication channels, Slack was mentioned as an appropriate
communication tool to build up the community.
The NHS Python Community cannot be expected to have 24 hours support
via slack but overall, it is very useful for members to share code, ideas and
challenges. Slack can also be used to share stories; members can share how
they have overcome certain IT hurdles.
We agreed a newsletter would be a good way to keep members updated on
progress, events, and the latest opportunities.
  1. Questions/AOB
The board closed with the following ideas that are  still in discussion:
- Goal of the python community
- Role of the board
- Slack as our preferred communications channel
Next board meeting date: 21st June 2021

Error Correction - 21st June 2021:

The Summary Results section has been corrected to reflect that community members could use Jupyter Notebooks as an alternative and might be able to install Anaconda but this is not guaranteed.