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Future of Academic Health Science Networks secured for five more years

Academic Health Science Networks are a key part of the NHS architecture with a long-term future, according to NHS England National Director of Strategy and Innovation Ian Dodge.

Speaking at NHS England’s Board meeting on 21 July, Ian Dodge said: “We should retain a comprehensive network of 15 AHSNs because they have proved their worth.” He added: “I see the AHSNs as an enduring part of the NHS architecture.”

There was unanimous commitment from the NHS England Board to relicense all 15 existing AHSNs for five years from April 2018.

  • A video of the NHS England Board discussion can be viewed here.
  • The Board paper on the future of AHSNs can be downloaded here

The decision followed the Government announcement on 14 July that AHSNs would take on a central role in a major initiative to encourage the rapid uptake of health innovation. The 15 AHSNs will share £39m over the next three years through the Office for Life Sciences. Read more here.

Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford AHSN, said: “These two announcements are excellent news for us and the other AHSNs ensuring we are sustainable for the foreseeable future.

“We are now well placed to build on our work with you, focusing on innovation, growth and service transformation to deliver better care to the patients in our region.”

AHSNs are also helping to deliver a new £35m digital health technology catalyst programme. The first funding round opened on 31 July. The programme is run by Innovate UK.