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New report highlights impact of England’s AHSNs

patient benefit 258,000+, patient benefits 231,000+, £462m investmentThe collective efforts of England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) benefitted almost 500,000 patients and generated £462 million inward investment in 2020/21, a new report reveals.

The AHSN Network Impact Report 2020/21 highlights significant successes relating to the adoption and spread of healthcare innovation, transforming patient outcomes, saving the NHS money, generating economic growth and attracting investment for the UK economy.

The report details how in March 2020 the AHSNs quickly realigned activities and resource to support the health and care system’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on sharing knowledge of proven technologies and expertise in coordinated national spread initiatives.

AHSNs also supported new priorities, taking on new programmes including:

  • a leading role in embedding online consultations in primary care practices
  • supporting the uptake of remote monitoring and oximetry approaches
  • dissemination of resources for intensive care units
  • supporting the uptake of electronic repeat dispensing to support the primary care workforce.

Impacts include:

  • 100% of CCGs in England launched the national COVID Oximetry @home model by December 2020
  • 96% of acute trusts set up virtual ward pathways by March 2021
  • More than 21,000 views of collaborative webinars with the RCGP on coronavirus themes for primary care
  • 92% of trusts implementing all three key interventions of our tracheostomy programme

Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of the Oxford AHSN and Chair of the AHSN Network, said: “This report demonstrates that as a Network we drive forward results in the most relevant areas to make a real difference for patients and service users, as well as healthcare professionals, innovators and NHS organisations. We use our unique position working across all sectors relevant to health and care and our embedded relationships as a catalyst for the greatest impacts, and this year is a demonstration of how effective that can be.”

£462m investment, 700 jobs created, 763 jobs safeguardedCommissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement, the AHSNs delivered seven programmes, developed regionally and selected for national adoption and spread during 2018-20. Since moving on to new programmes of national focus, AHSNs have continued work to ensure partners are equipped to sustain these programmes where they are a priority for regional health and care systems. In 2020/21, AHSNs launched new national adoption and spread programmes focusing on major NHS priorities around mental health and cardiovascular disease. In 2020/21, 258,000+ patients benefitted from these national adoption and spread programmes.

AHSNs host England’s 15 Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs). Commissioned by NHS England / Improvement, the PSCs are vital delivery agents of the national patient safety improvement programmes. The PSCs realigned resources at the start of the pandemic to support the system to respond in the most critical areas for patient safety, including identifying and managing people at risk of deterioration because of coronavirus and use of early warning and communication tools; and implementing a safer tracheostomy care programme to help hospital staff care for patients with a tracheostomy.

Funded by the Government’s Office for Life Sciences (OLS), the AHSNs’ Innovation Exchange is a co-ordinated approach to identify and spread innovations that directly respond to NHS needs and have the potential to transform the lives of patients. The Innovation Exchange activity supports companies at every stage of their development to encourage economic growth on a regional and national scale.

Impacts include:

  • £462m investment leveraged
  • 700 jobs created and 763 jobs safeguarded

The AHSN Network is a key member of the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), an NHS England and NHS Improvement initiative to remove barriers and accelerate the introduction of ground-breaking new treatments and diagnostics to transform care. We support NHS adoption of transformative technologies and medicines through the AAC’s Rapid Uptake Products (RUP) programmes and MedTech Funding Mandate (MTFM). (Until April 2021 this work was also achieved through the Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) programme.)

In 2020/21, 231,000+ patients benefitted from AHSNs’ delivery of selected AAC products and programmes.