by Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of the Oxford AHSN and Chair of the AHSN Network
This month marks ten years since the creation of Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) by NHS England to transform the way the health service identifies, adopts and spreads promising innovations. In the decade since then AHSNs have improved health outcomes and supported economic growth, both individually and working together as the AHSN Network.
Our clinical focus has reflected local and national priorities including maternity and neonatal safety, mental health and supporting people with cardiovascular and respiratory disease.
During the pandemic, AHSNs also supported the successful national roll-out of pulse oximeters and remote monitoring, as part of the national Covid Oximetry @home and virtual ward models. This aided social distancing, reduced unnecessary hospital attendances and enabled earlier discharge home of people recovering from Covid-19 at a time when hospitals were overwhelmed. This approach led to the current expansion of virtual wards across England, helping people with respiratory infection or frailty to safely manage their care at home supported by community teams and remote technology.
AHSNs’ collective impacts include:
+ Supporting life science companies and innovators to achieve more than £1.3bn investment *
+ Creating or securing more than 5,400 jobs *
+ A return on investment of almost £4 for every £1 commissioned **
Additional achievements of AHSNs include:
+ Delivering ten national adoption and spread programmes
+ Supporting rapid uptake of 28 products approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
+ Bringing benefits to more than two million patients
+ Helping the NHS save an estimated £165 million
As we enter our second decade, AHSNs will carry on helping the health service tackle its most pressing issues, including helping to deliver a Net Zero NHS by 2040, addressing health inequalities and improving patient safety. We will continue to champion and support scale-up of the best healthcare innovations to improve health, support the NHS and achieve economic growth.
Look out for more coverage of our ten year impacts in the coming months. #OxfordAHSN10
* Since 2018, data not collectively measured prior to this date
** Based on £13m annual funding from the Office for Life Sciences (OLS); ROI of 1:3.96 based on HMP Green Book methodology