The AHSN Network – Transforming lives through healthcare innovation
The AHSN Network is the collective voice of the 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England. The AHSNs were established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale – improving health and generating economic growth. Each AHSN works across a distinct geography serving a different population in each region as well as working together collaboratively on national level through the AHSN Network.
What is the role of AHSNs?
As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, we are catalysts that create the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients. This means we are uniquely placed to identify and spread health innovation at pace and scale; driving the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations.
Although small organisations – which ensures we remain flexible and responsive to emerging opportunities and challenges – we lead large regional networks. We also work together nationally which enables us to operate at pace and scale when required. Our impact relies on our ability to bring people, resources and organisations together quickly, delivering benefits that could not be achieved alone.
How are AHSNs different and distinct?
Everything AHSNs do is driven by two imperatives: improving health and generating economic growth in our regions. We are the only partnership bodies that bring together all partners across a regional health economy to improve the health of local communities. We have a remit from NHS England to occupy a unique space outside of the usual NHS service contract and performance management structures. This enables us to foster collaborative solutions. We use our local knowledge and harness the influence of our partners to drive change on the ground and integrate research into health improvement. We are as interested in seeing healthcare businesses thrive and grow, creating jobs and bringing in investment to the UK, as we are in seeing the healthcare system improve.
Responding to COVID-19
The AHSNs’ response to COVID-19 has highlighted how our core strengths and ways of working have proved a valued asset to our partners. AHSNs are agile and well-connected organisations, and we were able to mobilise and respond to this new crisis almost overnight, providing additional support and brokering relationships across health and care, research and academia, industry and the voluntary sectors.
The research and innovation priorities of workforce, use of digital and AI technology, mental health and multi-morbidity that emerged from our NHS needs survey last year have likewise proven to be highly relevant in responding to the pandemic.
As our impact report for 2018-20 demonstrates, as an AHSN Network we are achieving results that make a real difference for patients and service users, as well as healthcare professionals, innovators and NHS organisations. These strong foundations make us ideally placed to help all those involved in improving and innovating health and care to tackle the challenges that lie ahead together.
To find out more and read our impact report visit www.ahsnnetwork.com