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Academic Health Science Network


The UK Government has identified Life Sciences and Healthcare as important sectors to generate new economic growth as well as increasing the quality of care for patients within the NHS.

Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) present a unique opportunity to align education, clinical research, informatics, innovation, training and education and healthcare delivery.  Their goal is to improve patient and population health outcomes by translating research into practice, and developing and implementing integrated health care services.  They will support knowledge exchange networks to build alliances across internal and external networks and actively share best practice, and provide for rapid evaluation and early adoption of new innovations.

The Role of Academic Health Science Networks

AHSNs have been established to deliver a step-change in the way the NHS identifies, develops and adopts new technologies and are predicated on partnership working and collaboration between the NHS, academia, the private sector and other external partners within a single AHSN context and across AHSNs.

AHSNs will be system integrators and organisations which link different parts of the health ecosystem to ensure that a range of aspects to improve health outcomes are considered using proven methodology and improvement in science to lead large scale, sustainable transformational change across traditional boundaries.

AHSN have been established as autonomous bio-enterprises & small/medium enterprise in nature, with a five year licence commitment from NHS England. The relationship is one of investor return rather than traditional service provision and programme management.  AHSNs are not the “delivery vehicle” for NHS England national programmes.

All AHSNs have an agenda to drive adoption and spread of innovation across all areas of healthcare provision and population health, each AHSN also has the remit to bring together the resources and assets in their geography to create a synergy between researchers in universities, industry and entrepreneurs, and the local NHS to identify, exploit and commercialise innovations that will have national and international significance.

Over the last few years, SEHTA has enjoyed working closely with Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN and has had interactions with Wessex, Oxford and South London AHSN Network.

Wessex AHSN

Imperial AHSN

Oxford AHSN

“The formation of AHSNs is as much about wealth as it is about health,” says Dr David Parry, CEO of SEHTA. “Everyone recognises the need for improved healthcare, especially in the context of people living longer and long term conditions such as Dementia increasing, but for significant financial reasons the NHS cannot carry on as it has done in the past.”

“There has to be a better way of structuring healthcare in this country so that it is more streamlined and joined up in its approach, providing better patient care and value for money. Equally, innovation in the sector needs to become a valuable asset which can be sold abroad and in turn will help to fund improved healthcare in this country.”

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